Las Vegas Sands is prepping for another round of court battle, this time courtesy of a former Macau joint venture partner.
Two years ago, Taiwanese businessman Shi Sheng Hao aka Marshall Hao and his company Asian American Entertainment (AAE) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Nevada accusing Sands, chairman Sheldon Adelson and two of his top lieutenants of jilting him for another partner—Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment—during their joint bid for a casino concession in Macau some 13 years ago.
In its lawsuit, Asian American alleged that Sands not only terminated their joint venture, but also formed a new partnership with Galaxy, and then made “a near identical bid… using details that were exclusive to their previous partnership.”
Sands has taken legal action both in Nevada and Macau to try and stop Hao’s suit, but last month, a Macau court told Hao to proceed with his lawsuit that sought $5 billion in damages for breaking the terms of their former partnership, Reuters reported.
In addition, Asian American also wants more than 70 percent of Las Vegas Sands’ profits from 2004 to 2022, which the news outlet calculated “would exceed $8 billion” based on reported profits to 2015.
In a statement, Sands said it “has consistently maintained that this case has no merit. We have confidence that ultimately the Macao judicial process will reach the same conclusion.”
Hao’s lawyer Jorge Menezes told the news outlet that they expect a hearing to be scheduled in the coming months.
Hao’s suit is the latest addition to Las Vegas Sands’ collection of lawsuits. Last month, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned a 2013 jury verdict that ordered the casino operator to pay $70 million to Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen, who claimed to have tipped the company about Macau’s potential back in the early 2000s. Suen alleged Sands promised him $5 million an d2 percent of its Macau casino profits if he would help the company receive a gaming license, but the high court decided there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify the $70 million in damages a jury awarded in 2013 and that a new trial was needed.
The Las Vegas-based casino company is also in the middle of a long court battle against its former Sands China CEO Steve Jacobs, who sued the casino operator for ousting him in July 2010 for still somewhat murky reasons. Jacobs headed the China operations for about nine months before he was fired, which he claimed came after Adelson “pressured him to use illegal means to gain leverage over government officials in the gambling enclave.”