* Adelson actions not being investigated, report says
* Investigation focuses on two big-money gamblers
CHICAGO Aug 4 Las Vegas Sands Corp,
controlled by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is
the target of a federal investigation into possible violations
of U.S. money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported
The Los Angeles U.S. attorney's office is looking into the
casino company's handling of the receipt of millions of dollars
from a Mexican businessman, later indicted in the United States
for drug trafficking, and a former California businessman, later
convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal said, citing
lawyers and others involved in the matter.
The transactions date from the mid-2000s.
The Journal said there are no indications that actions by
Adelson, who is the company's chief executive officer and
largest shareholder, are being investigated.
The Los Angeles U.S. attorney could not be reached for
comment by Reuters on Saturday. A Sands spokesman was not
immediately available to comment to Reuters, but spokesman Ron
Reese told the Journal, "The company believes it has acted
properly and has not committed any wrongdoing."
Reese said the company was cooperating with federal
The timing of the investigation could open the Justice
Department to criticism that it is politically motivated, the
Journal said. Adelson is a major donor to the super PAC
supporting presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
against President Barack Obama and plans to spend $100 million
on Republican candidates in November's elections.
Adelson, who owns casinos in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore,
began this campaign season as a major donor to Newt Gingrich
before Gingrich dropped out of the Republican presidential race.
He has since switched his support to Romney and last month was
in Jerusalem with the candidate when Romney met Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who Adelson also strongly supports.
The Journal said the Las Vegas money-laundering
investigation focused on two "whales" - as big-money gamblers
are known - and whether Sands officials ignored warning signs
and did not alert federal authorities about millions of dollars
the gamblers had deposited.
The Journal identified one of the "whales" as Zhenli Ye Gon,
a Chinese-born Mexican national who was indicted in 2007 in the
United States on charges of dealing in materials used to make
The drug case was dismissed in 2009 but Ye Gon is still in
U.S. custody awaiting extradition to Mexico, where authorities
want to try him on drug trafficking and money laundering
charges, the Journal said, citing court records.
The Journal said Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, a former executive
with the Fry's Electronics retail chain, also was under
scrutiny. Court filings in another case showed Siddiqui sent
more than $100 million to the Sands. Siddiqui was charged with
taking kickbacks from Fry's vendors, pleaded guilty and is now
U.S. authorities also are investigating the Sands to see if
there were breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA),
which prohibits bribes to foreign officials by U.S. companies,
in its Macau operation.