LAS VEGAS SANDS PENALIZED AGAIN
 
Sheldon Adelson's company settles for a $6.96 million penalty on foreign bribery allegations.
 
Las Vegas Sands, the land casino company owned by multi-billionaire US mogul Sheldon Adelson, has again had to cough up a stiff penalty for non-compliance with the law.
 
This time it's a $6.96 million criminal penalty which halts a federal US Department of Justice probe into allegations that the company contravened federal anti-bribery laws through questionable payments to a consultant in respect of business conducted in China and Macau, according to a Reuters news agency report.
 
The settlement includes a no-prosecution agreement with the authorities, and an admission by Sands that its executives failed to set up accounting controls to ensure that the payments were legitimate, and were properly recorded in its books and records.
 
The allegations stem from an investigation in 2006-2009 which showed that LVS transferred around $60 million to the consultant to promote its business and brands, and paid him about $5.8 million without any "discernible legitimate business purpose".
 
Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act US companies are prohibited from bribing foreign officials in order to win business concessions.
 
The current penalty follows a related case last year in which LVS  agreed a civil settlement of $9 million with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its dealings with the consultant. In that settlement investigators found that the consultant was used as a front man to conceal the company's effort to buy a team in the Chinese Basketball Association, which barred gaming companies from ownership, and part of a Beijing building despite a casino gambling ban in that place.
 
The current settlement documentation notes that LVS had been cooperative and has taken remedial measures.
 
LVS now awaits the outcome of another investigation, this time by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, into allegations that it has used surrogates to conceal the identities of Chinese high rollers who wish to remain invisible to their government due to a clampdown in that country.