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Marina Bay Sands hires law firm to conduct new review into transfer of patron funds

Las Vegas Sands has hired a law firm to conduct a second investigation into alleged transfers of over US$1 billion in funds between patron accounts by employees of its Singapore integrated resort, Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

According to a report by Bloomberg, Singapore law firm Davinder Singh Chambers will conduct a follow-up review of MBS’ internal procedures in response to a probe into the matter by Singapore police.

The police probe was instigated in the wake of recent allegations by a former high roller, Wang Xi, that over SG$9.1 million (US$6.5 million) was transferred to the accounts of other patrons by MBS staff without his consent. Such actions are legal when consent is given, however Wang launched legal action against the casino operator claiming his signature on authorization letters received by MBS had been illegally copied and pasted, and that he didn’t know any of the recipients of his funds.

Wang and MBS reached an out of court settlement over the matter in July.

Despite the settlement, a previous review of its own practices by MBS and another law firm, Hogan Lovells, allegedly found instances whereby employees had failed to comply with proper standards by using pre-signed or photocopied authorization forms. That review examined more than 3,000 letters of authorization relating to fund transfers totaling more than SG$1.4 billion.

Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority said afterwards there was no evidence that MBS had breached its requirements but noted, “there were weaknesses in MBS’ casino control measures pertaining to fund transfers,” and that it had, “directed MBS to strengthen its control measures, which MBS has since undertaken.”

The Wang case also resulted in an investigation into MBS by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier this year over potential breaches to anti-money laundering regulations, according to another Bloomberg report in June, with US prosecutors said to have been investigating possible violations regarding the use of junkets or third-party lending using casino credit, as well as whether there had been any retaliation against whistle blowers.

In a statement provided to Bloomberg this week, MBS said it “continues to work closely with its regulators to monitor MBS’ compliance with all legal obligations.”

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