Las Vegas Sands, Adelson Face $5 Billion Macau Plan Suit

The Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Chairman Sheldon Adelson were sued by a former potential partner in a casino venture for as much a $5 billion over claims of trade-secret theft.

The Asian American Entertainment Corp. claims it’s owed money for work that led to the Sands securing a contract that allowed the company to develop its Macau casinos.

The chairman of Asian American Entertainment, Shi-Sheng “Marshall” Hao, negotiated an agreement with Adelson, Sands’s majority shareholder, in 2001 to win the contract, according to the July 9 complaint in federal court in Las Vegas.

The filing follows a June 25 decision by a Macau court recognizing an earlier U.S. ruling dismissing some Asian American Entertainment claims against Sands related to a bid for the Macau government’s award of gaming concessions in 2001, according to a regulatory filing by Sands. The litigation is continuing in Macau.

“Using a different lawyer every time, AAEC has repeatedly filed lawsuits trying to take credit for that which they didn’t do,” Ron Reese, a Sands spokesman, said in an e-mail. “Las Vegas Sands will respond to this latest version of the same meritless lawsuit in court.”

Asian American Entertainment accuses Sands of “surreptitiously” sharing the plans with Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., which Sands later joined with in developing the Macau properties.

The document at issue contained a plan to profit from temporary resorts, market research, business models and a list of architects to be used, according to the complaint. Divulging that information was “a complete betrayal of trust and a misappropriation of a proprietary document whose contents were clear trade secrets,” according to the complaint.

The case is Asian American Entertainment Corporation Ltd. v. Las Vegas Sands Corp., 14-01124, U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada (Las Vegas).

(Corrects description of court ruling in fourth paragraph of story published July 11.)
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