In an announcement that could affect three cases of business litigation, Las Vegas Sands Corp. said on March 1 that it was “likely” that its branch in Macau violated U.S. federal law in its dealings there. Sands is facing investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice over potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, as well as a wrongful termination lawsuit from the former CEO of Sands China over that conduct, so this admission could have a serious impact.

Sands made the statement about the possible FCPA violations in its annual report, which it filed on March 1. The report contained the results of an internal investigation into allegations that it violated the anti-corruption law, which prohibits certain acts for U.S. companies operating in foreign companies.

Among those acts is bribery, though Sands denies violating the anti-bribery parts of the statute. Still, the company said its investigation concluded that “there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions” of the law.

The former CEO of Sands China sued the company for wrongful termination in 2010. He claims that he was fired after refusing to carry out “illegal demands” made by Sands’ chairman and CEO. Following that litigation’s filing, the U.S. agencies began investigating Sands’ operations in Macau, a city in China with numerous casinos.

Sands denies asking the former Sands China CEO to do anything illegal and says he was fired for violating company policy. The company also says it is cooperating with the government investigations.

Source: Bloomberg, “Las Vegas Sands Probably Violated Foreign Corrupt Act,” Anthony Palazzo, March 4, 2013

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