Las Vegas Sands Corp. said it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to produce documents relating to its Macau operations’ compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a similar investigation, the Las Vegas-based company said yesterday in a regulatory filing. Las Vegas Sands, which owns casinos in Macau, China, said it “intends to cooperate with the investigations.”
The FCPA prohibits U.S. companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials to win or retain business. Sands China Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of Las Vegas Sands, said in July that Chief Executive Officer Steven Jacobs was fired by the board, without specifying reasons. Jacobs sued his former employer in October in a Nevada state court, alleging breach of contract.
“It is the company’s belief that the subpoena emanated from allegations contained in the lawsuit filed by Steven C. Jacobs,” Sands said in the filing, its annual report. The SEC subpoena arrived Feb. 9.
Jacobs’s complaint alleges, among other things, that Las Vegas Sands demanded that he use improper “leverage” to win government concessions, that he retain a lawyer who was part of the Macau government and that he mislead the board.
“The authorities said they were making fact-finding inquiries,” Ron Reese, a Las Vegas Sands spokesman, said in a phone interview. “We believe these inquiries came from the Jacobs’ lawsuit allegations, which the company once again strongly denies.”
Donald Campbell, Jacobs’s lawyer, declined to comment beyond saying a hearing on defense motions to dismiss is scheduled for March 15.
Las Vegas Sands fell $2.94, or 6.3 percent, to $43.70 at 4:03 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Sands China rose 2.9 percent to HK$19.04 in Hong Kong trading before the announcement.
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