Macau’s Court of First Instance has picked Las Vegas Sands (LVS) over Asian American Entertainment Corp (AAEC) in a massive $7.5 billion lawsuit that dates back 20 years and which was filed over an alleged contract breach. LVS claims that the contract between the two companies ended on January 15, 2002, and it concerns a Macau casino.
LVS and AAEC Partnered in 2001 to Bid on a Macau Casino License
After Macau’s government chose to end the monopoly in the gaming sector, LVS and AAEC partnered on a bid for a casino license. At the start of 2002, LVS and Galaxy Entertainment Group joined forces and ultimately, won the bid.
However, AAEC, which is controlled by Marshall Hao, decided to file a lawsuit in 2007 over breaches of the contract, but the complaint was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. That did not stop the company from suing again in Macau in 2012.
According to Hao, LVS wouldn’t have won the license and made all that profit if it hadn’t been for AAEC’s consultations. He also stated that he would’ve invested the same amount of money as LVS, if not more, which is why he is searching for $7.5 billion in lost earnings, which is based on the profits Sands China made from 2004 to 2022, which is the year when the license expires. The government of Macau is still struggling to find a solution to license renewals, but some believe that the validity period of these licenses can be cut in half.
Judge Seng Ioi Man Says That There’s Not Enough Evidence
According to AAEC, the relationship between the company and LVS ended in February 2001, shortly after Galaxy and LVS held talks. However, AAEC claims that their relationship continuation was backed by a letter of intent and a memorandum of agreement, signed by William Weidner, the CEO and president of LVS at the time.
LVS claims otherwise as it states that AAEC’s documents are falsified. According to LVS, the partnership ended at the start of 2002, January 15 to be more precise. Moreover, LVS claims that it approached AAEC to make another agreement. LVS wanted to become AAEC’s major shareholder as it would help increase the chances of success on the bid. According to LVS, AAEC did not accept the offer.
According to the lawyer of LVS, Luís Cavaleiro de Ferreira, AAEC even approached two additional companies to work on a bid without LVS.
On Tuesday, Judge Seng Ioi Man stated that there’s no evidence that the contract extended beyond the date LVS claims that it ended. Additionally, he said that it is impossible to know whether the joint bid between AAEC and LVS would’ve been successful or not.
The judge also commented on the alleged falsified documents by AAEC by saying that the court couldn’t determine if the paperwork is false or not. However, he did note that both parties are well-educated in the area and have a lot of experience and backing by legal teams. If they wanted to extend the letter of intent, it is somewhat logical to presume that they would’ve had a formal agreement.
Rumors are circulating that Judge Seng Ioi Man will end the 20-year dispute in the next few weeks.