Las Vegas Sands to pay $9 million to settle SEC allegations

Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. has agreed to pay $9 million to settle SEC allegations that it violated anti-bribery law, local media reports.

The allegations revolved around the company’s sponsorship of a Chinese basketball team, plans for a business center in Beijing and a ferry deal in Macau and failing to properly document transactions involving its Macau operations as well as paying a consultant to help it do business in China and Macau.

According to the SEC, the gambling company allegedly transferred more than $62 million to a consultant in China often without supporting documents or authorization.

The allegations were first prompted by Sands’s former top Macau executive, Steve Jacobs to investigate whether the company had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars U.S. companies from bribing officials of foreign governments.

Publicly traded companies “must have appropriate financial controls in place to ensure that expenses are paid for bona fide services,” Andrew Ceresney, head of the SEC enforcement division, said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

“The projects were orchestrated through a consultant whose activities under a former company president and other former employees were not sufficiently monitored,” the statement also said.