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Las Vegas Sands Corp. faces scrutiny in Macau and Spain

March 05, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., at the 2008 opening of the Four Seasons Hotel in Macau.
Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., at the 2008 opening… (Kin Cheung / Associated…)

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino behemoth run by Republican fundraiser and billionaire Sheldon Adelson, is facing criticism for its operations in Spain and Macau.

The gambling company recently acknowledged it is likely that in Macau it violated the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an American law best known for banning bribery of foreign officials, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filing. It was the first time the company disclosed it was under investigation by the SEC.

In Spain, advocacy groups are protesting Las Vegas Sands' plans to build a giant 1,850-acre casino outside Madrid.

Tomas Gomez, leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party in Madrid, said the project is creating "alarm, social regression and very suspect, very disturbing things."

"At the end of the day, what these gentlemen are setting up are platforms for money laundering to occur, and not platforms meant to create jobs," Gomez said during a press conference, according to the Huffington Post.

Las Vegas Sands fired back Sunday at media reports that suggested the company violated the ban on bribery in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Calling the coverage "inflammatory and defamatory," the company said in a statement that "no violations of the anti-bribery provisions" occurred but that there were "likely violations" of accounting provisions of the law that could include mistakes in its books.

The Financial Times recently reported that such an admission might affect Adelson's standing as a top Republican donor who gave, along with his wife, more than $100 million primarily to political action committees backing Republican candidates in 2012.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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