According to a November 20th article in the Wall Street Journal, Federal law enforcement authorities are investigating whether casino operator Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) violated money-laundering statutes. Sources with knowledge of the matter say prosecutors from the Manhattan and Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s offices as well as investigators from the IRS and DEA are looking into the matter, news which will likely make Jim Chanos happy.
Investigation focuses on high rollers
The WSJ sources noted that investigators are trying to ascertain whether Wynn violated any laws through its handling of sports-betting activities or through the casino’s interactions with several of its high-rollers.
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Authorities are also trying to figure out whether any of Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN)’s VIP customers laundered the proceeds of drug-trafficking or other crimes by betting in Wynn casinos. The sources noted the investigations are still in the early stages.
Of note, the company has not been charged with any criminal offenses to date.
Statement from Wynn Resorts
“We are not aware of any criminal investigation of the company whatsoever and we have serious doubts that any such investigation is taking place,” said Michael Weaver, Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN)’s senior vice president of marketing, when contacted the WSJ. “No agency has notified the company that it is under any investigation.”
“As a highly regulated business we are in a constant dialogue with regulators and governmental agencies on a variety of matters and the fact that information is requested from us by a governmental agency in no way implies the accusation of any wrongdoing by the company,” Weaver continued. “We do not comment on specific interactions with regulators and agencies, but as a general matter we always fully cooperate with them.”
U.S. authorities increasing scrutiny of casinos for money laundering
This criminal probe of Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN) comes as U.S. authorities step up their scrutiny of casinos’ efforts to prevent money laundering. Regulators have long been concerned about vulnerabilities at casinos, which are complex financial institutions that conduct a large amount of cross-border and cash transactions. Wynn, which is run by casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn, is the third major Las Vegas casino company in recent years known to be investigated for possible violations of money-laundering laws.