Las Vegas – A jury on Saturday awarded a Hong Kong businessman a USD 43.8-million judgment against Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino giant run by billionaire Sheldon Adelson.
Richard Suen claimed he was owed up to USD 100 million for helping the Las Vegas-based company secure a lucrative gambling license in the Chinese enclave of Macau.
Suen said he was hired by Las Vegas Sands to win favour with the Chinese government and was successful.
Las Vegas Sands has opened two resorts in Macau’s Cotai Strip area, the Sands Macao and the Venetian Macao, and has plans for at least 10 more casino properties.
It also owns The Venetian and the Palazzo casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Suen filed the civil lawsuit in 2004, saying that he and his company were promised a USD 5-million „success fee“ and two per cent of net casino profits to help the company open its first casino in Macau.
Las Vegas Sands attorneys argued that Suen was owed nothing because he did not make good on his promise to aid company executives in 2000 and 2001.
The company later partnered with Hong Kong-based Galaxy Entertainment in February 2002 and was awarded one of three gambling licenses by the Macau government.
The companies couldn’t reach a contract agreement, however, and the partnership was dissolved.
Macau then awarded Las Vegas Sands a subconcession, a decision that Suen’s lawyers said was a result of their client’s earlier lobbying.
Adelson, the 74-year-old chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, offered conflicting testimony in the trial.
He initially told jurors that William Weidner, president and chief operating officer, provided a letter to Suen seeking his assistance in doing business in Macau.
He later said Suen was never hired by the company.
The eight-person Clark County District Court jury deliberated for about a day before returning the award.
Suen’s lawyer, John O’Malley, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Las Vegas Sands lawyer Rusty Hardin said the company plans to appeal the decision.