LVS Says Asian American Entertainment Broke Partnership in $7.5B Breach Case

Posted on: January 26, 2022, 09:53h. 

Last updated on: January 26, 2022, 12:30h.

It was Asian American Entertainment Corp (AAEC), and not Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) that broke up a business relationship between the two parties, a Macau court has heard.

LVS Sands China
LVS’s Sands China subsidiary helped the US company become the richest casino operator in the world. But AAEC believes it is owed some of the spoils. (Image: CNBC)

It’s a broken partnership that launched what must surely be the biggest breach of contract claim in legal history, with AAEC asking for US$7.5 to US$12 billion in damages from the US casino giant.

Some 20 years after the fact, LVS lawyer Luís Cavaleiro de Ferreira was making his closing arguments Wednesday at Macau’s Court of First Instance.

Breach of Contract Claims

In 2001, the two parties entered into an agreement to submit a joint licensing bid for a casino in Macau, shortly after the former Portuguese colony opted to liberalize its gaming market.

But AAEC, led by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, claims LVS breached the contract by breaking off the relationship and partnering with Galaxy Entertainment. It was this partnership that was ultimately granted a gaming concession by Macau’s government.

LVS’s subsequent operations in Macau helped it to grow into the world’s wealthiest casino operator. AAEC says it would have invested as much or more into the partnership and wants at least $7.5 billion in lost earnings.

He Says, She Says

LVS says the partnership officially ended on Jan. 15, 2001, before it approached Galaxy. Conversely, AAEC claims the date was in February 2001, after it had held talks with Galaxy. And it says a letter of intent allegedly signed by the then-LVS president and CEO William Weidner proves this.

LVS claims that the document is falsified.

On Wednesday Ferreira said LVS had approached AAEC shortly before their agreement allegedly expired to sign a document defining their partnership moving forward, Macau Business reported.

LVS also suggested it become a shareholder of AAEC because it would strengthen its bid in the eyes of Macau’s government. AAEC rejected these proposals, according to Ferreira.

Business Infidelity 

Meanwhile, Ferreira claimed AAEC approached two other companies in late January 2001, including Galaxy, about the possibility of working on a bid without LVS.

LVS was not notified about these talks and Ferreira said his client is fine with this because they occurred shortly after the date LVS alleges the partnership terminated. But they occurred shortly before the date claimed by AAEC, he said.

As to why AAEC approached these two other parties, Ferreira said, “We don’t know. Perhaps only Marshall Hao knows.”

A final hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 15 to try to establish additional facts before the judge delivers his verdict.