- Associated Press - Thursday, May 19, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada regulators have approved a $2 million fine against Las Vegas Sands Corp. to settle a complaint that the casino company didn’t properly account for millions of dollars paid to a Chinese consultant and received from a high roller.

The Nevada Gaming Commission approved a settlement Thursday on a two-count complaint that the Nevada Gaming Control Board unveiled last week against billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s company.

The Las Vegas Sun reports (https://bit.ly/1OQc9UD ) no Sands officials addressed regulators. The publicly traded corporation with holdings in the U.S. and Macau doesn’t admit wrongdoing.

But commission chairman Tony Alamo said the complaint “reads awful,” adding that the allegations looked “like amateur hour,” according to the newspaper.

The Nevada complaint points to a federal Securities and Exchange Commission order from April that found the Sands didn’t properly document several major money transfers to Chinese entities over the last decade.

According to the SEC order, the Sands repeatedly transferred money to a consultant to buy a professional Chinese basketball team that would wear the logo of The Venetian Macau casino, but didn’t explain where about $7 million went and falsely categorized some payments to the consultant.

The order also cited problems with a $61 million real estate deal launched around 2006, when the Sands sought to develop a resort on the Chinese island of Hengqin.

The SEC ordered the Sands to pay a civil penalty of $9 million.

The Nevada complaint released last week also says the casino company didn’t properly vet and report a high roller.

Federal authorities said Zhenli Ye Gon played at The Venetian from 2005 to 2007 and was the casino’s “largest all cash up front gambler ever” at the time. A police raid at his Mexico City home in March 2007 turned up about $207 million, according to media reports cited in the complaint.

Federal officials said the Sands didn’t flag Ye Gon’s transactions until April 2007, and even then didn’t disclose that the high roller had lost more than $90 million at The Venetian and had suspicious patterns of transferring money from Mexico.

The company agreed in 2013 to return $47 million to the U.S. Treasury, which represents money it accepted on behalf of Ye Gon.

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, https://www.lasvegassun.com


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