Las Vegas Sands Corp. says it probably broke bribe law

Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman and chief executive

Las Vegas Sands Corp. chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Ochsorn, attend the 2011 Sands China general meeting in Hong Kong. Adelson's company told the Securities and Exchange Commission in a filing March 1, 2013, that it probably broke a U.S. law on bribing foreign officials. (Credit: AP, 2011)

Travel deals

LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas Sands Corp. says in a regulatory filing that it probably violated a federal law that prohibits bribing foreign officials.

The casino company said in a filing Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission asked two years ago for records relating to compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Las Vegas Sands, which is controlled by billionaire and big GOP contributor Sheldon Adelson, said that after it got the SEC subpoena on Feb. 9, 2011, the audit committee of the board of directors opened an investigation.

In its annual report, filed Friday with the SEC, the company said that the audit committee "reached certain preliminary findings, including that there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions" of the anti-bribery law.

Las Vegas Sands said that based on information from the audit committee and its lawyers, it expects that the findings will not have a material financial impact or force restatement of past financial results.

The company said that it had improved its record-keeping and internal-controls practices in recent years, and added that the audit committee's investigation was continuing.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an anonymous source, reported Saturday in its weekend edition that the findings were related to business deals in mainland China led by executives no longer with the company.

The company said in its annual report that it believed the SEC investigation stemmed from a lawsuit filed in 2010 in Nevada by Steven C. Jacobs, the former chief executive of its Chinese subsidiary. Jacobs is seeking unspecified damages. Las Vegas Sands said in the filing that it couldn't predict the outcome of the still-pending case but will defend itself vigorously.

The Journal reported that Nevada gambling regulators are also investigating the matter, citing people familiar with the case.

In recent years, Las Vegas Sands has expanded aggressively in Asia, building a casino business in the China's gambling resort district, Macau.

Las Vegas Sands reported in January that fourth-quarter net income jumped more than 35 percent, helped greatly by booming business in Macau, the only place in China with legal gambling and a haven for high-rollers. Revenue in the company's Chinese subsidiary soared 48 percent higher than a year earlier.

The company, named for the famous casino that was torn down in 1996, also operates the Venetian and Palazzo casinos in Las Vegas.

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