LVS Likely Settled for $96 Million in Legal Battle with Hong Kong Businessman, Per Earnings Report

Posted on: April 18, 2019, 09:28h. 

Last updated on: April 18, 2019, 09:28h.

In March, Las Vegas Sands Corp settled a long-running legal dispute with Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen, who claimed he enabled the casino giant to win licensing in Macau back in 2001.

LVS chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson was too ill to testify at last month’s trial. At a Tuesday earnings call, the company’s president Rob Goldstein said the tycoon was still receiving treatment and could not participate. (Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Based on LVS’ profits in the gambling hub since, Suen was asking for $346.9 million cut, and LVS settled for an undisclosed sum ahead of the second day of a trial in Las Vegas.

That figure was very likely to have been $96 million, according to the company’s latest earnings report. LVS makes no specific mention of the case but does refer to a “non-recurring legal settlement” of $96 million, which helped contribute to a 54 percent decline in net income.

15-Year Spat

Suen sued LVS in 2004, claiming he arranged meetings between the Las Vegas-based company and Chinese government officials that led to a Macau license that helped the company become the wealthiest casino operator in the world.

Suen said he was offered a $5 million “success fee” if his introductions proved fruitful, plus 2 percent of the Sands Macao’s earnings for the duration of its license, which will expire in 2022.

LVS always argued that Suen did little to facilitate licensing, that the advice he offered the company was “useless,” and that he deserved nothing.

In 2008 and 2013, Suen won judgments of $43 million and $70 million, respectively. Each time LVS appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court and each time the case was remanded the case back to the District Court.

LVS chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson, who testified against Suen in previous trials, was revealed by an LVS lawyer to be too ill to take the stand last month. Attorney James Jimmerson said the 85 year-old billionaire was undergoing treatment for non-Hodkinson’s lymphoma. Jimmerson described Adelson’s condition as “dire.

Adelson Still Ill

At an earnings call Tuesday, Sands President Rob Goldstein told analysts and investors that Adelson would not be taking part in the earnings call because he was “still receiving medical treatment.

“We look forward to his recovery in due course,” Goldstein added.

Goldstein made no comment about the settlement, but said a decline in VIP play in Singapore had been largely to blame for the drop in net income. But results were positive in Macau, where LVS’s Parisian property enjoyed a record quarter, he said.

“Next month we will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Sands Macau opening, which marked the beginning of Macau’s amazing transformation into a world-class tourism destination for leisure and business travelers,” he added.