500.com closes bribery investigation

500.com closes bribery investigation

An independent review found there was no violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977. 

China.- The Chinese online lottery services provider 500.com has announced it has closed an internal investigation into the company’s involvement in a bribery case related to Japan’s integrated resorts (IR) scheme.  

500.com was interested in participating in one of the bids for the three IR licences Japan’s central government will issue in 2021.

The firm invited former senior vice-minister of the cabinet office, Tsukasa Akimoto, and his family on an all-expenses paid ski trip. He was then accused of taking a bribe of JPY7.6 million (US$72,161) from 500.com. 

The Japanese lawmaker Takaki Shirasuka also admitted accepting 1 million yen (US$ 9,325) from the lottery services provider.  

The Chinese company set up a Special Investigation Committee (SIC) to look into its involvement in alleged illegal money transfers. The auditors, King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) carried out an independent investigation and presented findings to the Committee on October 7.  

The firm stated in a filing: “Based on the findings and analyses in KWM’s review, the SIC has concluded that it did not find a sufficient basis to establish a violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 in connection with the company’s prior activities in Japan.  

“The SIC has also reviewed the company’s compliance policies, procedures and internal controls in light of the suggestions from KWM.”

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