| LAS VEGAS/LOS ANGELES, March 19
LAS VEGAS/LOS ANGELES, March 19 A judge in
Nevada on Tuesday ruled against Las Vegas Sands Corp's
effort to throw out a case against it by a businessman who says
he is owed millions of dollars for helping the casino firm get
an operating license in Macau.
Tuesday's ruling paved the way for jury selection to begin
next week in the trial of the long-running case, which will
bring Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson to the witness
stand on April 4.
In a surprise appearance, Adelson also attended Tuesday's
hearing on Sands' motion for summary judgment.
Clark County District Court Judge Rob Bare ruled against
Sands motion that had sought a judgment in its favor ahead of
the trial, which will be the second trial in the
breach-of-contract case brought against the casino operator by
Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen.
In the long-running case, Suen claims the gaming company
did not pay him as promised for arranging meetings with key
Chinese government officials that helped pave the way for Sands'
entry to the gambling district of Macau.
A jury in 2008 ruled against Sands, awarding Suen $43.8
million in damages, plus interest. That judgment was overturned
by the Nevada Supreme Court three years ago due to what it
deemed errors by trial judge Michelle Leavitt in admitting
testimony by former Sands President Bill Weidner.
In that trial, Weidner testified through a deposition that
he agreed in 2001 to pay Suen a $5 million fee, plus 2 percent
of the casino revenue if his work led to securing a gaming
Sands currently operates four successful properties in Macau.
Las Vegas Sands contends Suen did nothing to earn the money,
and that the gaming company arranged its license on its own.
Judge Bare let Adelson delay his court appearance until after
Passover, which begins on March 26 and runs through April 2, to
allow the Sands CEO to observe the holiday.
Sands has faced similar claims by others who claimed they
helped the company win the concession in Macau, where it
operates its properties through Sands China Ltd..
In June 2009, the company reached a $42.5 million settlement
with three business associates who claimed they had assisted the
company in receiving a gaming concession in Macau.
The former Portuguese enclave of Macau, about an hour away
from Hong Kong by ferry and with a population of half a million,
raked in $38 billion in annual gambling revenues last year.
It is the only place where people can legally
gamble at casinos in China.