Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adelson Pays Out to the U.S. Government

The Daily Beast

Adelson’s casino company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., cut its losses this week when it agreed to pay $47 million to the U.S. government to settle a federal money-laundering investigation with ties to a Mexican methamphetamine cartel. In exchange, Obama’s Department of Justice agreed not to prosecute the company for failing to report suspicious activity on the part of Zhenli Ye Gon, a high-rolling customer whose shady money transfers ought to have alarmed casino compliance officials and been reported to authorities.

Known as “Mr. Ye” on the Strip, the Chinese businessman gambled at least $126 million from 2006 to early 2007—most of that at the Sands’s Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip—prior to his arrest by Drug Enforcement Administration agents. A suspected money launderer with alleged ties to the violent Sinaloa cartel, Ye Gon currently faces potential drug-trafficking charges in Mexico. (Similar charges in the U.S. were dismissed.)

When Ye Gon’s home near Mexico City was raided in 2008, agents found approximately $207 million in U.S. currency. Some of the fat stacks of $100s were held in place by Venetian casino wrappers. In the non-prosecution memo in the case, Adelson’s company admits Ye Gon was “the largest all-cash, up-front gambler the Venetian-Palazzo had ever had to that point.”

For his part, the usually loquacious Adelson is so far uncharacteristically quiet. The mercurial and litigious casino baron, whose profits from casinos in Triad-infested Macau have helped drive his personal net worth above $25 billion according to published reports, is suspiciously silent.

When he was busy trying to pave Mitt Romney’s path to the White House last year, Adelson was a veritable quote machine. Perhaps he figured sometimes it’s better to shut up and cut the check.
$47mil is about half of what Adelson flushed down the shitter to try to get Willard elected, or at least someone who could stop the investigation. It's a drop in the bucket but at least he's STFU.

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