Las Vegas Sands Says Chief Financial Officer Kay Leaving

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino company under investigation for violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and alleged money-laundering, said Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Kay will leave effective July 31.

The company didn’t give a reason. Kay will provide transition services as part of a six-month consulting agreement, the Las Vegas-based casino and resort company said in a regulatory filing yesterday. He’ll receive one year of salary and a pro-rated bonus for 2013.

Kay’s exit follows the April resignation of auditor Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP and the March disclosure by Las Vegas Sands that an internal probe had found “likely violations of the books and records and internal provisions” of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A U.S. grand jury in Los Angeles is examining whether the company broke money-laundering laws, the Huffington Post said on June 5.

Ron Reese, a Las Vegas Sands spokesman, said the departure of Kay, the company’s finance chief since 2008, had “nothing to do with any of those things.”

Las Vegas Sands, which has casinos in the U.S., Singapore and China’s Macau, said in April it had improved its practices with respect to books and records, and is cooperating with all investigations. The company said it had no reportable disagreements with Pricewaterhouse going back to 2011. Sands, controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson, plans a search for Kay’s successor.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. in Los Angeles, didn't respond to a message seeking comment on the probe.

‘Another Headline’

“While this is another negative headline, we do not think investors should read into this personnel change that it relates to any negative event,” Joseph Greff, an analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities, said in a research note.

Greff, who has a buy recommendation on the stock, noted that other executives have left after falling out of favor with Adelson, and that Kay had been working without a contract for two years.

Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino company based on market value, gained 2.5 percent to $50.71 yesterday in New York, before the filing. The shares have risen 9.9 percent this year, compared with the 11 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The company is asking a Nevada judge to set aside a $101.6 million verdict in favor of a Hong Kong businessman who won a trial over claims that he helped the casino operator win its gaming license in Macau.

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