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Las Vegas Sands in settlement talks with DOJ

Government says casino company violated money-laundering laws

Las Vegas Sands Corp. is reportedly in talks with federal prosecutors to settle an investigation into whether the casino company violated money-laundering laws.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is alleging that the Las Vegas Sands failed to report suspicious financial transactions that two of its biggest customers made. The customers were later charged with crimes for moving millions of allegedly ill-gotten dollars through the Las Vegas Sands’ accounts, according to court filings. Casinos have been required to report suspicious transactions to the government since 2003.

In July, lawyers for the Las Vegas Sands tried to persuade the government to drop the case, but prosecutors said they could indict the casino company on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors also said a Las Vegas Sands executive could be charged in the case.

The DOJ and lawyers for the Las Vegas Sands met as recently as last Thursday, according to the Journal. People familiar with the matter said the recent talk involved a settlement that could require the Las Vegas Sands to pay a fine and change the way in which it handles customer money.

Experts told the Journal that the government has recently become increasingly concerned about financial transactions involving casinos and their customers. In the past, federal or state regulators would bring civil fines against casinos for violating money-laundering laws. And though low-level employees have faced criminal charges in the past, experts say they aren’t aware of any criminal charges against casino companies or high-level employees for failing to report suspicious transactions.

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Ashley Post

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