LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The Las Vegas Sands is avoiding serious federal charges, for a price. The company was being investigated for its involvement in a money laundering scheme by one of the casino's biggest customers.
According to this settlement agreement the trouble started back in 2006 when one of the Las Vegas Sands' biggest cash customers Zhenli Ye Gon deposited about $45 dollars into the Sands' accounts at the Venetian and Palazzo.
Ye Gon later found himself at the center of a drug trafficking investigation in Mexico where they uncovered more than $200 million in cash at his home.
The feds claim those massive deposits should have raised red flags with the company and they company failed to report them immediately.
Although the Sands is avoiding action from the feds this doesn't clear them from state consequences.
Gaming control board chairman Ag Burnett told News 3 they will be reviewing the agreement to see if there are any violations of Nevada law.
David Schwartz, UNLV's Director of the Center for Gaming Research, does not foresee state action.
“I don’t really see it,” Schwart said. “I think in a situation today when you have companies operating across the globe you might get a lot of things like this happening so I don’t see it being the sort of thing that will have an immediate threat in Nevada.”
A spokesman for the Las Vegas Sands wouldn't go on camera but said they fully cooperated with the investigation and that effort was recognized by the federal government.
According to the settlement the sands opened the door to the feds by providing interviews with employees, supplying documents, conducting an internal investigation and enhancing their reporting of suspicious activity.
The company also agreed to return the $47 million and will work closely with investigators for the next two years.
Schwartz says the impact to the company investor wise should be minimal since the Sands was open about the investigation.
”Some of this had been knowledge so the fact they’ve resolved it and are moving forward is going to give people more security and make them actually feel better about the company and their prospects in the future,” Schwartz said.
Although avoiding serious charges the company has to remain on its best behavior.
The feds could take back this deal the Sands commits a felony or fails to report criminal activity by employees.