LOS ANGELES (CN) – Las Vegas Sands Corp. will pay the United States $47.4 million for failing to tell authorities that a gambler linked to international drug trafficking made suspicious deposits at its Venetian-Palazzo hotel and casino, federal prosecutors said.
The Sands agreed to pay Uncle Sam the money within 10 days, in a non-prosecution agreement.
In return, the U.S. attorney will not prosecute it for failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement Tuesday.
The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles said it was the first time a casino faced “the very real possibility of a federal criminal case for failing to properly report suspicious funds received from a gambler. This is also the first time a casino has agreed to return those funds to the government.”
According to the U.S. attorney’s statement: “The money being paid the United States represents money sent to the Venetian casino by or on behalf of Zhenli Ye Gon, who at the end of 2006 or early 2007 was ‘the largest all-cash, up-front gambler the Venetian-Palazzo had ever had to that point,’ according to the non-prosecution agreement.
“In March 2007, Ye Gon’s residence in Mexico City was searched by law enforcement authorities, who seized approximately $207 million in United States currency from the residence in what remains the largest ever seizure of currency by law enforcement.
“Ye Gon was indicted by federal officials in the District of Columbia on narcotics charges, but that case was dismissed in 2009.”
Ye Gon is pending extradition to Mexico, which has charged him with drug trafficking offenses.
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