The Las Vegas Sands Corporation, controlled by billionaire Sheldon G. Adelson, has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials, the NY Times reported.
The admission was included in the Sands’ annual regulatory report published by the commission on Friday, in which the Sands reported that “there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions” of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The Times noted that the above disclosure came while investigations by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau are investigating the company’s business activities in China.
This is the first time the Sands has publicly acknowledged possible wrongdoing. Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Sands, declined to comment on the Times’ report.
Federal investigators started paying attention to the Sands’ business in China after a 2010 wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Steven C. Jacobs, the Sands’ former president of the company’s operations in Macau.
Jacobs accused the Sands of turning a blind eye toward Chinese organized crime figures operating in its casinos.
According to the Times, Chinese authorities have fined some Sands subsidiaries more than a million dollars for using unreported money for business purposes.
Sheldon Adelson’s Macau operation has made him one of the richest people in the world, with a fortune that stands, according to Forbes, at just under $25 billion.
Adelson is a personal friend of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Hebrew daily Israel Hayom frequently runs articles supporting the PM.