A Taiwan businessman and his firm, that had a civil claim equal to billions of U.S. dollars made against casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) and some of its units rejected by Macau’s Court of First Instance, had engaged in litigation in “bad faith,” said a Thursday press release from the court.
The long-running case had centred on whether Marshall Hao Shi-sheng and his firm Asian American Entertainment Corp had helped the casino group get its Macau gaming licence at the turn of this century, but had not been properly rewarded.
The court’s press release – issued subsequent to a judgement issued on April 28 – said: “Considering that the plaintiff, in the course of the proceedings, acted with intent by distorting the facts, and seriously overestimated the amount of compensation,” the court sentenced the plaintiff “for litigation in bad faith”.
There is nonetheless the possibility for the Asian American Entertainment side to appeal against the court’s judgement.
The lawsuit was originally filled in January 2012, but faced multiple delays. In its original claim, Asian American Entertainment claimed MOP3 billion (US$375 million) as compensation for damages resulting from the alleged breach of agreements by Las Vegas Sands. But in July 2019, Mr Hao’s company requested the court to increase the amount of its claim to about US$12 billion, allegedly representing lost profits from 2004 to 2018.
Later on, Mr Hao’s side stated Asian American Entertainment should be entitled to no less than US$7.5 billion for damages resulting from an alleged breach of agreements during Las Vegas Sands’ successful bid in 2002 for a casino licence in Macau.
Thursday’s press release from the Court of First Instance summarised elements from the actual judgement, which is in Chinese and is more than 90 pages long.
The press release said that: “Having analysed the grounds invoked by the parties in the pleadings,” the court had ruled that despite a letter of intent “having been signed on October 18, 2001, none of the agreements initially conceived by the parties were ever granted.”
This was due to the fact, the court said, that “the parties, from the first contacts established in 2001 until the rupture of relations between them, remained in a phase of negotiation and preparation for the conclusion of the various definitive agreements, hence the aforementioned letter of intent does not have the nature of a formal contract and, as such, not bind the parties, except with regard to certain clauses…”
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