Report: Justice Department probes Sands casino chain in potential money laundering case

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether Las Vegas Sands Corp., owned by high-profile Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, broke federal law by failing to report millions of dollars of potentially laundered money transferred to its casinos by two high-rolling Las Vegas gamblers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles is probing deposits made in the mid-2000s by a Mexican pharmaceutical businessman, later indicted for drug trafficking in 2007, and a California executive with Fry’s Electronics, who later pled guilty to taking illegal kickbacks, the newspaper said.

Chinese-born Mexican businessman Zhenil Ye Gon transferred around $85 million to casinos owned by Sands in the middle of the last decade.

The Justice Department is also investigating more than $100 million in money transfers by another Las Vegas high roller, Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, who was previously a vice president at Fry’s Electronics.

Siddiqui was arrested in 2009 for accepting illegal kickbacks. He pled guilty to the charges and is serving a six-year prison sentence.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns the Venetian and Palazzo resorts in Las Vegas, as well as similar resorts in Singapore and Macau. Macau is a former Portuguese colony near Hong Kong.

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