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Las Vegas Sands, Hong Kong businessman settle 14-year-old dispute

Updated March 14, 2019 - 8:37 pm

Attorneys for Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen on Thursday settled Suen’s 14-year-old legal dispute over his compensation for helping the company secure a license in Macau.

Terms of the settlement weren’t announced.

Thursday morning’s announcement in Clark County District Court ended what was expected to be a six-week trial on its second day, and resolved two previous trials and two appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Representatives of Las Vegas Sands had no comment on the settlement.

“At 11:30 this morning, we announced a resolution of the case with plaintiff and defense counsel before Judge (Rob) Bare,” Las Vegas-based Sands co-counsel Jim Jimmerson said.

“The terms were disclosed, but are confidential, and at 1 o’clock, the judge discharged the jury after announcing the settlement to them,” Jimmerson said.

Attorneys for Suen, whose Round Square Company Ltd. was in court with Sands in 2008 and 2013, did not return calls seeking comment.

In opening statements Wednesday, Suen’s Los Angeles-based attorney John O’Malley suggested Suen be paid $346.9 million for his role in arranging meetings with representatives of the Chinese central government and administrators in Macau to help Sands secure a gaming license.

Washington-based Richard Sauber, lead attorney for Sands, said the maximum payment should be $3.8 million because the company ultimately lost confidence in advice Sands considered useless.

Whether Suen was entitled to compensation already had been determined in two previous trials.

In 2008, after a 29-day trial, Suen was awarded $43.8 million. The state Supreme Court vacated that verdict in 2010 because of the amount of hearsay evidence Suen’s attorneys put into the record.

Five years later, at the end of a 33-day retrial before Bare, another jury awarded Suen $70 million. In March 2016, the state Supreme Court affirmed the judgment in favor of Suen while reversing the jury’s decision on damages.

Since winning the concession in Macau in the early 2000s, Las Vegas Sands has gone on to become a leader in the market, building Sands Macao, Venetian Macao, Sands Cotai Central comprised of several hotel brands, and Parisian Macao.

In 2018, 63.3 percent of Las Vegas Sands’ net revenue of $13.7 billion was generated by operations in Macau.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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