Global Gaming Sues Philippine Billionaire Enrique Razon in New York for US$296.6M

Posted on: March 30, 2021, 03:26h. 

Last updated on: March 30, 2021, 11:36h.

Las Vegas-based Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM) is suing the Philippines’ second-richest man in a federal court in New York in a claim for hundreds of millions of dollars

Enrique Razon
Enrique Razon, seen here, is the Philippines’s second-richest man, with interests in shipping, ports, energy, natural resources, and hospitality, as well as the Solaire resort in Manila. (Image: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg)

The casino development and gaming management company has Bloomberry Resorts chairman Enrique Razon on the hook for US$296.6 million following a long-standing contractual spat.

GGAM claims the multi-billionaire illegally terminated a 2011 agreement to manage the Solaire Resort and Casino in Entertainment City, Manila, and is hiding assets in the US to avoid paying up.

The suit was filed on Monday in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York. It claims Razon has “taken steps” to prevent GGAM from collecting the money, which was awarded to the US company in 2019 by an arbitration panel in Singapore.

It accuses Razon of employing a “cadre of loyal operatives who devised and constructed a personal enterprise to serve Razon’s two primary objectives: (i) protect his personal wealth from creditors and other stakeholders, and (ii) retain his tight control over every portion of his enterprise.”

GGAM is headed by former LVS Corp COO Bill Weidner, who oversaw the development of the Venetian Las Vegas. It is a subsidiary of financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald.

GGAM Squeezed Out

In 2011, GGAM agreed to a five-year contract to manage the operation of Solaire on its completion. GGAM also purchased an 8.7 percent stake in the project.

Solaire opened in 2013 and was an immediate success. It began turning a profit within months and has done so each year ever since.

“Razon … viewed the project’s immediate success as an opportunity to squeeze out the US-based GGAM, seize GGAM’s legitimate economic rights for his own personal benefit, and hide behind Philippine borders and its local courts when GGAM sought to enforce those rights,” claims the complaint.

In September 2013, only six months after Solaire opened, Razon – per his design – caused the Debtor Defendants to unlawfully terminate the agreement with GGAM and ultimately withhold tens of millions of dollars in fees and other consideration owed to GGAM,” it continues.

“Pouring salt on GGAM’s wound, Razon also leveraged his personal relationships in the Philippine stock market to unlawfully prevent GGAM from selling its equity interest in the project – an obstructive effort Razon continues to this day.”

Razon’s Shell Companies

GGAM wants the court to confirm the award made by the Singapore arbitration tribunal. They also want to enforce it against Razon’s US assets, which it says are concealed through a vast network of shell companies.

Among these properties is Steve Wynn’s former residence at the Plaza, purchased for $24.4M, according to the complaint.

In past court filings, Bloomberry has argued the arbitration award was not self-executing and that it may only be enforced in the Philippines “through an order of a Philippine court of proper jurisdiction.”

While the award has been confirmed by the Singapore Court of Appeals, Bloomberry says the decision is “subject of a separate appeal …pending [with the appellate court].”