A Macau court was told on Wednesday that Asian American Entertainment Corp Ltd (AAEC), led by Taiwan businessman Marshall Hao Shi-sheng, was to blame for its failed tie-up with United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) at the turn of the century, regarding a tilt for a Macau casino concession.
Luís Cavaleiro de Ferreira, a Macau lawyer representing Las Vegas Sands side, made the assertion during closing arguments in a long trial concerning a not less than US$7.5-billion in damages sought by Asian American Entertainment from the U.S. group. He also contested AAEC’s compensation claim.
Las Vegas Sands is the parent of current Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd.
The case – centring on a AAEC-Las Vegas Sands tie-up proposed in 2001 – is being heard by Macau’s Court of First Instance.
The lawyer for the Las Vegas Sands side said Mr Hao had declined to extend beyond January 15, 2002, a letter of intent binding Asian American Entertainment and the U.S. group to exclusive negotiations.
Asian American Entertainment was the first to break up the partnership, and entertain deals with rival bidders, including with Hong Kong entrepreneur Lui Che Woo, Mr Cavaleiro de Ferreira claimed.
The lawyer also denied an assertion by the other side, that Las Vegas Sands had given Mr Lui’s Galaxy Casino SA access to a confidential bid document prepared by Asian American Entertainment. He said the eventual bid that initially combined the capabilities of Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy Casino SA, was entirely based on the resort-business model of the American group’s Venetian Las Vegas casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mr Cavaleiro de Ferreira stressed that Asian American Entertainment’s own Macau bid had the lowest final score in the tender process held by the Macau authorities, and suggested that the Taiwan group would not have won a Macau concession even if Las Vegas Sands had ultimately been its partner.
At an earlier stage of the tender process, units of Las Vegas Sands had teamed up with Asian American Entertainment for the Macau venture; but later the United States-based group switched to a partnership with Lui Che Woo, via an entity called Galaxy Casino SA, now under Macau casino firm Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
The case will continue on February 15.
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