Lao Holdings NV, the parent company of Sanum Investments Ltd, says it has filed three legal actions alleging violations of a 2014 agreement with the government of Laos. The firm said the agreement stipulated that the sale of the Savan Vegas Hotel and Entertainment Complex – a casino hotel in Savannakhet, Laos – and other assets, should be “for maximum value to the benefit of all parties”.
Savan Vegas was previously controlled by Lao Holdings and Sanum Investments before the Laos government in 2012 seized the resort operation – claiming that Sanum owed US$23 million in back taxes and penalties – and appointed an interim management.
Lao Holdings said, in a press statement carrying Friday’s date, that the Laos government had launched a “groundless pursuit of criminal allegations against Lao Holdings, Sanum and affiliated individuals,” and that its actions would lead to a “low-ball sale” of Savan Vegas.
On March 25 San Marco Capital Partners LLC, a U.S.-based private investment firm asked by the Laos government to handle the sale of the Savan Vegas complex, announced a shortlist of interested parties.
Lao Holdings said, in its Friday press release, that two lawsuits relating to the disposal process have been filed with the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes – an agency affiliated with the World Bank – and one lawsuit with the United States District Court in Delaware.
“These actions have been taken in direct response to the expropriation and planned sale of Sanum’s gaming and hotel complex,” said the press release.
“All of the actions taken by the Lao government over the past two years have been a blatant attempt not only to avoid, but systematically obliterate its legal obligation to work with us in good faith,” said Jody Jordahl, president of Sanum Investments, as quoted in the statement.
“If the government had followed the terms of our agreement, we would not be taking these actions,” Mr Jordahl was further quoted as saying.
The U.S. court action, which Lao Holdings said had been filed on May 2, is against San Marco Capital Partners and its president Kelly Gass. According to Friday’s statement, the lawsuit alleges mismanagement by San Marco Capital Partners and Ms Gass regarding the operation and planned sale of Savan Vegas.
GGRAsia approached San Marco Capital Partners seeking comment on the matter, but had not received a reply by the time this story went online.
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