LVS settles criminal bribery case with $7 million

Casino operator Las Vegas Sands has agreed to pay a $7 million criminal penalty to end a U.S. Department of Justice probe into whether it violated anti-bribery laws after it paid consultant to help it obtain a license in Macau from 2006-2009, local media reports.

According to a statement from the Justice Department on Thursday, the casino operator entered a non-prosecution agreement, in which it admitted the executives knowingly failed to set up controls to ensure payments were legitimate, and failed to properly record the payments in its records.

The latest blow to LVS follows on from a SEC case alleging it violated anti-bribery law, which was settled last year in April.

The operator paid $9 million to settle the SEC allegations, which 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.

The latest fine is 25 percent below the minimum recommended amount under federal guidelines, reflecting the operator’s cooperation and “extensive” remedial measures, including revamped compliance controls, the Justice Department said.