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Sands Told to Pay $101.6 Million Over Macau Permit

Richard Suen
Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen stands in the courtroom before the opening statements in Suen's lawsuit against Las Vegas Sands in Clark County Regional Justice Court in Las Vegas on April 3, 2013. Photographer: Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP Photo

Las Vegas Sands Corp. was ordered to pay $101.6 million to Richard Suen, a Hong Kong businessman who won a trial over his claims that he helped the casino operator obtain a gaming license in Macau.

Nevada District Court Judge Rob Bare in Las Vegas yesterday issued a judgment that added $31.6 million in interest to the $70 million in damages the jury awarded Suen on May 14.

Suen has prevailed twice at trial on claims that meetings he helped arrange for Sheldon Adelson, Sands’ founder and controlling shareholder, with Chinese leaders in Beijing were instrumental in the selection of Sands by the Macau government in 2002 as one of the companies that could own and operate casinos in the former Portuguese colony.

The Nevada Supreme Court in 2010 reversed a $58.7 million jury award, including prejudgment interest, in favor of Suen.

Adelson, 79, testified that Suen, a friend of his younger brother Lenny Adelson, contributed nothing to helping the company getting a concession. Sands argued that the Macau government made its decisions independent of the central government in Beijing, which is legally prohibited from intervening in the city’s internal affairs.

Gambling Monopoly

Suen, 60, testified that he first alerted Sheldon Adelson to the possibility in 2000 that Macau would end the gambling monopoly casino mogul Stanley Ho had enjoyed in the enclave since 1962. Suen claimed that the goodwill created with Chinese officials through the meetings he helped arrange in Beijing led to the selection of Sands.

Las Vegas Sands gets about 58 percent of its annual revenue from its Macau business. Sands China Ltd., the company’s Hong Kong-listed unit, on May 2 reported first-quarter net income of $452.9 million, a 63 percent increase from a year earlier, as it drew a record number of visitors.

Ron Reese, a Sands spokesman, said in an e-mail that the company plans to appeal the verdict.

The case is Suen v. Las Vegas Sands Corp., 04A493744, Nevada District Court, Clark County (Las Vegas).

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