Tag Archives: Department of Justice (DOJ)

What happens in Vegas…SEC investigates Sands Hotel and Casino

In 2006 through to at least 2011, the Las Vegas Sands hotel and casino corporation transferred funds totaling more than $62 million to a “consultant” in China to promote their interests.

Lacking supporting documentation for appropriate authorization and identity, the money trail raised a red flag for the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the United States. This led to an investigation under the authority of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), as well as an investigation carried out by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), since the Sands is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Since the Sands management could not account for the funds transferred to the consultant, bribery was inferred. This lack of controls extended to other transactions, including gifts and entertainment to foreign officials, employee and vendor expense reimbursement, and customer complimentary services.

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Enforcement activity by U.S. FCPA Regulators

There were three FCPA enforcement actions brought or announced in August 2015.

BNY Mellon became the first – of what is expected to be several financial services companies – to pay millions ($14.8 million to be precise) in an SEC enforcement action based on its alleged internship practices.  This flagged various issues to consider from the enforcement action including that it was the first SEC FCPA enforcement ever not to include allegations or findings of books and records violations.  This recent BNY Mellon enforcement action highlight why the meaning of “foreign official” matters.

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