Las Vegas Sands to Return $47.4 Million to Settle Allegations

Yesterday, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS  ) agreed to return $47.4 million to the United States government in response to failing to alert government officials that a "high-stakes gambler, who was later linked to international drug trafficking, made numerous large and suspicious deposits with the casino," according to a Drug Enforcement Agency press release.

Las Vegas Sands operates the Venetian-Palazzo in Las Vegas and will return the money within the next 10 days. In response, the government won't prosecute the casino for not filing a Suspicious Activity Report for casinos and will end its criminal investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office said Las Vegas Sands "completely cooperated with the investigation." 

United States Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement:

What happens in Vegas no longer stays in Vegas. For the first time, a casino has faced the very real possibility of a federal criminal case for failing to properly report suspicious funds received from a gambler. This is also the first time a casino has agreed to return those funds to the government.

Las Vegas Sands will return money sent to the Venetian casino by Zhenli Ye Gon, who made wire transfers to the casino totaling about $45 million and depositing cashier's checks for about $13 million between 2005 and 2007. He was "the largest all-cash, up-front gambler the Venetian-Palazzo had ever had to the point" and is currently awaiting extradition to Mexico, where he's been charged with drug trafficking. 

Reuters reported that Ron Reese, a spokesman for Las Vegas Sands, said, "The company cooperated fully and that effort was clearly recognized by the government."


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  • Report this Comment On August 28, 2013, at 8:43 PM, spokanimal wrote:

    The $47 million represents only a tiny fraction of the EBITDA that the company earns in a typical fiscal quarter.

    The same is true with the Steve Jacobs and Richard Suen issues... the exposure is very minimal relative to the massive cash flows that the company takes in.

    Further, the company is off to a booming start in the current, 3rd quarter. Sand's Cotai patronage was up a whopping 34% year-over-year (vs only 6% for macau visitation as a whole) and Q3 market share for sands is shaping up to attain almost 23% (vs just over 21% in the company's solid, 2nd quarter).

    It's no wonder that LVS is rated higher by an aggregate of 27 analysts than any other global gaming company (25 buys, 2 holds, no sells per Thomson/First Call).

    Spokanimal

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