A Macau judge stated on Tuesday it had not been proven – based on the evidence presented – that Asian American Entertainment Corp had a definitive agreement to tie with United States-based casino group Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) for a tilt at a Macau gaming concession at the beginning of this century.
Judge Seng Ioi Man, sitting at Macau’s Court of First Instance, is hearing a case involving the equivalent of not less than US$7.5-billion in damages sought by Asian American Entertainment from the Las Vegas Sands side. The judge was outlining the court’s conclusion on the proven facts of the case. He said the evidence for a deal did not extend beyond a letter of intent for partnership, signed by both parties in October 2001.
Las Vegas Sands went on to gain Macau gaming rights without the involvement of Asian American Entertainment, the latter a business fronted by Taiwan businessman Marshall Hao Shi-sheng. Las Vegas Sands’ Macau operation is being run by Sands China Ltd, which is due to see its Macau rights expire on June 26 this year.
During the trial, the court had been told that Las Vegas Sands had linked with Asian American Entertainment on a Macau venture; but that later the U.S. group had switched to a partnership with Hong Kong businessman Lui Che Woo, via an entity called Galaxy Casino SA, the latter now under Macau casino firm Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
The trial aired the issue of whether Asian American Entertainment might have won Macau rights if Las Vegas Sands had remained as its partner throughout the tender process. On that issue, the court had doubts, Judge Seng said.
The total premium and investment amount Asian American Entertainment had committed for a bid was “very low”, the judge stated.
The court will arrive at a verdict after hearing further statements from lawyers on each side.
Asian American is being represented by Jorge Menezes, of FCLaw Lawyers & Private Notaries. The Las Vegas Sands side’s lawyer is Luis Cavaleiro de Ferreira, of CFS – Luís Cavaleiro de Ferreira, Ricardo Silva & Associados.
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