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Sands agrees to settlement in Vegas money laundering deal

As the Florida Senate completes plans to embark on a statewide road show to discuss the future of gambling in Florida, one of the most active players in the quest to bring resort casinos to Florida -- Las Vegas Sands -- has withstood some rocky publicity this week. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, and other news sources, the casino giant has agreed to pay more than $47 million and will accept U.S. Department of Justice's assertion that the company failed to report suspcicious financial activity by a customer who dealt only in cash, and who was later identified as a drug kingpin. 

A Sands spokesman told the Wall Street Journal in its Wednesday papers that, "The company cooperated fully in the investigation, and that effort was recognized clearly by the government."

Under the agreement reviewed by the WSJ, Sands has agreed to refrain from using generic names on its customer accounts and must also conduct two years of reviews of its anti-money laundering policies and file periodic reports with the government. 

The federal settlement is part of a two-year probe into possible money-laundering at the Sands, the newspaper reported. Investigators at the U.S. Treasury and Justice Department have been concerned that the practices may have enabled some of the casino's most lucrative customers to gamble using proceeds from illegal activities, federal officials said. 

Sands officials also disclosed in its annual report in March that after an internal probe into its casino operations in Macau, the company probably violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.