Philippines-based casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp says the Singapore High Court has dismissed a petition from two Bloomberry subsidiaries asking the judicial body to “vacate and oppose the enforcement of the partial award” decision made by a Singapore-based arbitration tribunal.
The tribunal ruling had been in favour of Global Gaming Philippines LLC, a unit of United States-based Global Gaming Asset Management LLC (GGAM). The decision from the High Court – the lower tier of the city-state’s Supreme Court – was issued on January 3, said the casino operator in a Monday filing.
Bloomberry subsidiaries Sureste Properties Inc and Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc had appealed against a September 20, 2016 decision of the arbitration tribunal. The case related to the termination of a management services agreement that had existed between the Bloomberry subsidiaries and the unit of GGAM. The latter group in turn has links to former casino executive William Weidner.
In September 2016, the international tribunal in Singapore ruled that the Bloomberry subsidiaries were “not justified” in terminating the management services contract with the GGAM unit. The tribunal also affirmed GGAM’s ownership of – and right to sell – the 921,184,056 shares it held in Bloomberry.
The parties had struck a casino management services contract in 2011 that included veteran industry figure Mr Weidner and some associates. The deal related to Solaire Resort and Casino (pictured), a property that opened in the Philippine capital Manila in March 2013.
In Monday’s filing, Bloomberry said the Singapore High Court decided that certain “FCPA findings” – a reference to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – “do not constitute strong and cogent evidence of any species of fraud” on the part of GGAM.
That suggestion had been raised by Sureste and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels against GGAM. Monday’s Bloomberry filing said the “FCPA findings” related to a U.S. Department of Justice non-prosecution agreement with casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp and an order by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to the FCPA; both said to relate to a period when Mr Weidner and an associate Eric Chiu were working at Las Vegas Sands.
According to the filing, the Bloomberry units have until February 3, 2020 to appeal the decision to a higher court in Singapore. “The appeal would focus on the flaws and the misappreciation of the evidence in the decision,” stated the parent company.
In the meantime, the arbitration tribunal in Singapore in September 2019 ordered the Bloomberry subsidiaries to pay US$296 million to Global Gaming Philippines. The award is subject of a separate appeal in Singapore, Bloomberry had confirmed in November.
Bloomberry noted that, according to its legal advisors, “the arbitration award is not self-executing and must be confirmed by a court for it to be enforceable and to have the legal effect of a judgment”. The firm added that, according to such legal advice, the decision of the arbitration tribunal “may be enforced in the Philippines only through an order of a Philippine court of proper jurisdiction, after appropriate proceedings taking into account applicable Philippine law and public policy.”
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Macao Government Tourism Office