Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Pricewaterhouse Coopers have parted ways after a partnership that has spanned 25 years. The latter resigned as the official auditor of LVSC with the casino operator’s ongoing legal issues serving as “the overriding issue” behind PwC’s decision to cut ties with its long-standing partner.
The Wall Street Journal reports that while Sands didn’t mention any reason for PwC’s resignation in its Securities and Exchange Commission filing, people familiar with the issue said that the relationship between the two companies had deteriorated to the point that PwC couldn’t take Sheldon Adelson’s demands and challenging demeanor. In addition, the Las Vegas-based casino operator’s current legal issues, including an investigation by U.S. federal agencies for possible violations of anti-money laundering and anti-bribery laws, also played a significant part in the auditing firm’s decision to resign from its position as LVSC’s official auditor. Of particular importance, and one that could have played a part in PwC’s resignation was the recent disclosure made by Sands’ audit committee that there were likely violations of books and records and internal control provisions of anti-bribery laws.
Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese declined to explain the reason behind PwC’s resignation, only offering a statement saying that “these are relationships that evolve over time. In business, these types of situations are a fact of life.”
In what can only be described as following the leader’s lead, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Hong Kong also tendered its resignation as auditor of Sands China in a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. According to the Macau Business Daily, PwC HK decided that it would be impractical for the Hong Kong arm of the auditing firm to continue on as the auditor of Sands China after the decision of its parent company to discontinue its relationship with Las Vegas Sands.
With that relationship apparently over, both parties are now in the process of moving forward without the other. PwC has made it clear to both Las Vegas Sands and Sands China that it wouldn’t seek re-appointment while LVSC is now in the process of selecting a new auditor.