Asian Coast Development Ltd, owner and developer of The Grand Ho Tram casino resort (pictured) in Vietnam, has reshuffled its board of directors according to a press released issued on Monday.
Tony Podesta – a member of the Democratic Party in the United States and termed in the press release as “a long-time friend and advocate for the government of Vietnam in the United States” – was recently brought in. Also hired as a director was Loretta Pickus, described as a 25-year veteran of executive roles in hospitality, strategic planning, and legal affairs, and who has served as a vice president of Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Departing from the Asian Coast Development board were Bill Thompson and Byron Sproule. The company said they had “stepped down to pursue other opportunities”.
In September last year, the backers of the Grand Ho Tram said the roles of development company boss and that of the leader of the project company – Ho Tram Project Company Ltd – were being combined in a single position under executive Michael Kelly. After the reshuffle, the board of Asian Coast Development continues to have seven members, with Mr Kelly as executive chairman and chief executive, said the press release issued in the name of The Grand Ho Tram.
According to the Monday statement, international investors – including New York City-based hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, founded by Philip Falcone – have “over US$1 billion in deployed and committed capital” in The Grand Ho Tram.
The promoter of the Grand Ho Tram in May signed a memorandum of understanding with local developer Cotec Construction Joint Stock Co to build a “US$75-million expansion” to the complex.
Management at the property had told GGRAsia in an October 2014 interview that the venue hoped to be part of a national pilot programme for locals to gamble, possibly via the use of an entry levy for locals or some other economic test.
Earlier this month Vietnam’s Thanh Nien newspaper – citing an official at the Ministry of Finance that it didn’t identify – reported that the latest version of a national draft decree on gaming, prepared by the country’s central government, proposed keeping in place a ban on locals entering casinos in Vietnam.
(Updated at 2.45pm, Sept 21)
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