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June 29, 2016

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Nevada high court orders new trial in $100 million Las Vegas Sands case

Image

Steve Marcus

Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen is shown during a courtroom break at the Regional Justice Center Thursday, April 4, 2013. Suen is suing the Las Vegas Sands saying he is owed millions of dollars in an agreement in which he helped Sands secure its gaming license in Macau a decade ago.

Updated Monday, March 14, 2016 | 3:09 p.m.

With more than $100 million at stake, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson's company has been granted a do-over in a Las Vegas courtroom on the contested amount owed to a Hong Kong businessman for helping to secure lucrative business in Macau.

The Nevada Supreme Court called for a review of the $70 million that a jury awarded in 2013 to Richard Suen and his company, Round Square Co. Ltd., but did not overturn findings that Las Vegas Sands Corp. must pay.

Penalties and interest have added at least an additional $30 million to the amount, court filings say.

Suen contends that meetings he arranged with Chinese officials helped Las Vegas Sands get crucial approval to build casinos in the Chinese gambling enclave.

"We hold there was insufficient evidence to support the jury's award of damages, and thus, a new trial on the issue of damages is warranted," the justices said Friday.

The billionaire's company welcomed the decision, though the court rejected several of its other appeals, including that it didn't get a fair trial and that the issue of damages should not have gone to a jury at all.

"The company has consistently maintained that whatever service Mr. Suen claims to have provided was only of nominal value and was wholly unrelated to the company earning its operating rights" in Macau, Las Vegas Sands said in a statement.

Suen's primary attorney, John O'Malley, declined to comment.

Las Vegas Sands is the corporate owner of the Venetian and Palazzo casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. It operates four resorts in Macau, a former Portuguese colony about an hour by ferry from Hong Kong.

Suen filed the breach-of-contract lawsuit in 2004, and a jury found in his favor in 2008.

Adelson's company won a new trial by arguing that jurors had been presented with evidence that was inadmissible hearsay.

Suen, who argues that he and his company were promised $5 million and 2 percent of net casino profits, demanded more money during the 2013 retrial by pointing to profits Las Vegas Sands had made in Macau since the first trial.

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