Trial against Sands over Macau’s concession to start on September 11

T

he Asian American Entertainment Corporation (AAEC) MOP96.45 billion (US$11.9 billion) damages claim case against Las Vegas Sands has four court sessions scheduled for September 11, 12, 18 and 19, court information indicates.

A former business partner of Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Marshall Hao, has called for an increase in the amount of its claim against the Venetian Macau Ltd., and three US-based subsidiaries of Las Vegas Sands — LVS (Nevada) International Holdings Inc., Las Vegas Sands LLC and Venetian Casino Resort LLC.

The Asian American Entertainment Corporation, led by the Taiwanese entrepreneur, is now asking for a total of MOP 96.5 billion (around USD 12 billion) in compensation related to the granting of the gaming concession in Macau, as reported by Macau Daily Times. The increase of the amount in the claim by Hao was reported in the latest interim report of Sands China Ltd.

The case that opposes the Taiwanese entrepreneur to the subsidiaries of Las Vegas Sands was originally filed in January 2012 and now its first hearing has been adjourned to September 11 at the Court of First Instance (TJB).

Over seven years ago, the AAEC compensation claim for damages resulting from the alleged breach of agreement during the 2002 bid for a gaming concession in Macau amounted to MOP 3 billion. The case pertains to Sands’ decision to leave a joint bid with AAEC during the initial public tender process that awarded the current three concessions and sub-concessions, to join a bid with Galaxy Entertainment Group.

However, in July this year, the company requested a significant raise, now claiming a sum of MOP 96.45 billion. The company said the raise is for lost profits in the period between 2004 and 2018, and reserved the right to claim for further lost profits up to 2022 when the concession is due to expire.

AAEC attorney, Jorge Menezes, confirmed to Macau News Agency that the group made the claim and also that AAEC additionally claimed roughly 70 percent of the profits to be made by LVS from 2019 up to the end of the concession.

“This is in line with what AAEC had claimed in its initial filings in 2012, and was based on data that is disclosed by the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ). This was done on July 15 of this year since the trial was called for September and we wanted to provide the court with updated data,” he stated.

Previous claims on the same case have been ruled upon by the TJB back in April 2014, when the court said that the case against Venetian Macau Ltd. lacked foundation, suggesting that claims should continue only against the US-based companies. The decision deserved a prompt appeal from the AAEC.

Hao’s company had also filed similar lawsuits against Las Vegas Sands in the US District Court of Nevada, but later dropped the US case and decided to only pursue the litigation in Macau.

The Sands China interim report also states that, at the moment, the company is “unable to determine the probability of the outcome of this matter or the range of reasonably possible loss, if any,” as no hearing has been held yet.

The matter of the gaming license bid of Las Vegas Sands in Macau has been addressed in more than one case and involving different companies. Earlier this year, the company reached an agreement with businessman Richard Suen for a settlement of a similar dispute, although details over the amount given in compensation were not disclosed at the time.

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