Las Vegas Sands Hires Top Law Firm in Singapore to Review Employee Transfers

Posted on: September 16, 2020, 11:52h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2020, 02:32h.

Las Vegas Sands has hired a leading law firm in Singapore to review employee transfers made on behalf of VIP customers at its integrated casino resort Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

Marina Bay Sands junket transfer
Marina Bay Sands is hiring outside counsel to dive into its transfer records. (Image: Lim Yaohui/The Straits Times)

Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd. has come under investigation by state authorities and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), for its handling of employee transfers. The LVS subsidiary operates the integrated resort in Singapore.

In July, Marina Bay Sands settled a lawsuit with a gambler for $6.5 million. The man claimed casino workers transferred money out of his account without his authorization.

Junket groups often establish large-sum accounts with casinos in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia. The funds are dispersed to VIP junket customers, who are loaned money to gamble in exchange for promising assets in their home countries.

Bloomberg reports that Sands has contracted Davinder Singh Chambers LLC, a Singaporean law firm that specializes in dispute resolution and international arbitration. The group is a leading legal firm in the city-state and features the Marina Bay Sands resort on its homepage.

Davinder Singh Chambers will be tasked with reviewing how employees are handling transfer requests, and whether any instances of not abiding by anti-money laundering protocols have occurred.

Investigations Ongoing

Sands’ settlement with the disgruntled gambler — identified as Wang Xi, a Chinese national — came with a “non-admission” of liability. But authorities in Singapore say there’s much more money that might have been transferred unlawfully.

Sands previously worked with the Hogan Lovells law firm to investigate the transfers of approximately S$1.4 billion ($1 billion USD). That probe found numerous instances of alleged unauthorized transfers.

The review concluded that employees had not complied with proper standards, including using pre-signed or photocopied authorization forms. However, the Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) said that while “there were weaknesses in MBS’ casino control measures pertaining to fund transfers,” the casino did not breach anti-money laundering requirements.

“MBS continues to work closely with its regulators to monitor MBS’s compliance with all legal obligations,” a statement from the casino explained.

Stock Tumbles

Las Vegas Sands, the gaming empire of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, derives about a third of its revenue from Marina Bay Sands. The company additionally has properties in China’s Macau and on the Las Vegas Strip.

As a result of Sands hiring yet another law firm to look into its transfer practices in Singapore, investors opted to fold on the company and sell shares. Traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Las Vegas Sands was down roughly 3.5 percent during afternoon trading, each share trading around $50.

The news out of Singapore comes after some rather bullish analyst notes. Morningstar recently gave the company a $60 per share price target, and analysts opined this week that Sands is poised to gain market share in Macau.