American casino giant Las Vegas Sands Corporation has reportedly agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $6.96 million in order to end the long-running probe by the United States Department Of Justice into whether it violated a federal anti-bribery law by making payments to a consultant in order to help it do business in China and Macau.

According to a report from the Reuters news service, the Las Vegas-based firm also entered into a non-prosecution agreement in which it admitted that executives knowingly failed to set up accounting controls to ensure that the payments were legitimate and were properly recorded in its books and records.

Las Vegas Sands Corporation is responsible for nine gambling properties including The Palazzo and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Nevada alongside The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel in Macau while September saw it open its $2.7 billion The Parisian Macao development in the former Portuguese enclave. It was reportedly alleged that the firm headed by 83-year-old billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson had transferred about $60 million to a consultant from 2006 to 2009 so that this adviser could promote its business and brands in Asia.

The United States Department Of Justice investigation moreover reportedly contended that Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which also operates the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, had paid this consultant approximately $5.8 million without any “discernable legitimate business purpose” and that he had been used to help conceal the company’s efforts to illegally purchase a team in the Chinese Basketball Association and part of a Beijing property development.

Reuters reported that the settlement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case follows a related $9 million civil agreement Las Vegas Sands Corporation signed last year with the United States Securities And Exchange Commission while Thursday’s fine was 25% below the minimum recommended under federal guidelines. The United States Department Of Justice purportedly declared that the reduced penalty reflected the global casino operator’s cooperation and “extensive” remedial measures, which included the institution of revamped compliance controls.

“The company is pleased that its cooperation and long-term commitment to compliance were recognized in reaching this resolution,” Ron Reese from Las Vegas Sands Corporation told Reuters. “We are equally pleased that all inquiries related to these issues have now been completely resolved.”

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