Macau’s Court of First Instance has rejected a request filed by Asian American Entertainment Corp (AAEC) for a 30-day extension of the deadline for the firm to file an appeal regarding a court sentence in a lawsuit opposing it against units linked to casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS).
On April 28, Macau’s Court of First Instance had given judgement in favour of the Las Vegas Sands side in a long-running civil case opposing the casino operator to Asian American Entertainment, led by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao Shi-sheng. At the time, the court also sentenced Asian American Entertainment “for litigation in bad faith”.
Mr Hao’s side had subsequently been requesting an extension of the deadline for submitting an appeal, and asking for a Portuguese version of the sentence. Its request was based on the fact that the court sentence – a 99-page document – was only made available in Chinese.
The legal team representing Mr Hao is led by Portuguese-speaking lawyer Jorge Menezes. Portuguese is also an official language in Macau, used by local courts.
The regular deadline for filing an appeal in cases such as the one pitting Asian American Entertainment against Las Vegas Sands is 10 days.
In its decision – seen by GGRAsia – the Court of First Instance stated it was not obliged to deliver its sentence in a particular official language based on the respective proficiency of the legal representatives involved in the case. It also said that the Asian American Entertainment side’s request for a deadline extension was not due to lack of notification regarding the court’s sentence, but due to its absence of proficiency in Chinese language.
A source linked to Mr Hao’s side expressed disappointment at the court’s decision regarding the request for a deadline extension on the appeal. The source told GGRAsia such decision was not expected and it impacted Asian American Entertainment’s ability to seek justice in its case against Las Vegas Sands.
The lawsuit was originally filed 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, during the defendant’s successful bid in 2002 for a casino licence in Macau. 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 fewer than US$7.5 billion in damages, due to the alleged breach of agreements by Las Vegas Sands.
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 Hong Kong entrepreneur Lui Che Woo, via an entity called Galaxy Casino SA, now under Macau casino firm Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
In December 2002, the Macau government allowed an amendment to the Galaxy entity’s concession contract, so that a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands was granted a sub-concession spun off the original Galaxy licence.
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