Las Vegas Sands under Investigation for Money Laundering
It has been reported that Las Vegas Sands Corp. and a number of its executives are being investigated for failing to report possible money laundering.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles US attorney’s office is investigating whether the company was aware of the transfers of large amounts of money into the casino from a Mexican businessman who was later indicted for drug trafficking and a Californian businessman who was convicted of taking illegal kickbacks.
Ron Reese, the spokesman for Sands said that “the company believes it has acted properly and has not committed any wrongdoing” and that they are cooperating with the investigators.
It is possible that the Justice Department will now come under criticism that the investigation is politically motivated due to its timing. Adelson is a huge donor to the super PAC, a strong supporter of Mitt Romney and plans to spend $100m on Republican candidates in the forthcoming elections.
The investigation is focusing on two big money gamblers and whether Sands officials ignored warning signs and failed to alert federal authorities about the millions of dollars that had been deposited. One of the gamblers is Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese born Mexican national who has previously been indicted on charges of dealing in materials needed to make methamphetamine. The case was dismissed but Ye is still being held in US custody and awaiting extradition to Mexico to be tried on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
It is also thought that Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, an ex-executive with Fry’s Electronics, is being investigated. It is known that Siddiqui has sent over $100m to the Sands and he is currently in prison after pleading guilty to taking kickbacks from Fry’s vendors.
Sands are also being investigated to see if they have breached the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids bribes to foreign officials by US companies, in the Macau operation.