Chinese businessman Richard Suen and his company Round Square Co Ltd earned at most only 1 percent of the US$347 million his side is claiming from casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp for what Mr Suen says was his help in securing Macau gaming rights.
That is according to a lawyer for the United States-based casino group as reported by the Associated Press. He was speaking on Wednesday during the opening-statements phase of a case being tried in front of a jury at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. The judge, Rob Bare, has told jurors the whole hearing could take seven weeks.
Richard Sauber, an attorney for Las Vegas Sands, told jurors Mr Suen and his firm earned no more than US$3.76 million from its involvement with the casino group. Las Vegas Sands is the parent of Macau-based casino firm Sands China Ltd.
Mr Suen says he introduced the casino group’s founder and chairman Sheldon Adelson and company executives to well-connected Chinese officials.
The casino company asserts that Mr Suen’s side stopped helping it in 2001, before the group was able to secure Macau rights, initially in partnership with Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
Mr Suen’s claim has been going through the courts – on and off – for 15 years. Las Vegas Sands’ current Macau gaming rights are due to expire in 2022.
A Nevada jury ruled in favour of Mr Suen’s side in 2008, awarding him US$40 million – and when that was set aside on appeal a fresh jury awarded him US$70 million in 2013, only for the amount of the award to be ruled out in 2016 by the state’s Supreme court, which ordered a new hearing of the case.
According to previous statements from a lawyer for Mr Adelson, he is not well enough to testify in the latest process.
The casino firm said in a statement earlier this month that Mr Adelson was not as of that time keeping a normal office schedule – although still in day-to-day charge of the company – due to treatment for a form of cancer.
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"We will continue supporting our people and the local communities in which we operate, reinvesting in our current markets, producing strong returns for our shareholders and aggressively pursuing new development opportunities"
President and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands