AAEC lacked experience in casino sector, court hears

The legal battle between Las Vegas Sands and AAEC continues.
The legal battle between Las Vegas Sands and AAEC continues.

Carlos Lobo, a former advisor to Macau’s gaming commission has told Macau’s Court of First Instance that AAEC was an experienced company in the finance sector, but did not have experience in tourism or casinos.

Macau.- On a new day of hearings at Macau’s Court of First Instance, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) called on Carlos Lobo, an advisor to Macau’s gaming commission during its concession tender process.

Lobo told the court that AAEC lacked experience in the casino sector, adding that the company also wanted to develop a bank in exchange for a gaming concession, which raised concerns about money laundering at the gaming commission.

AAEC’s legal team argued that Lobo shouldn’t have testified as he had a conflict of interest for being a legal advisor for LVS’s Venetian as well as a trainee lawyer at the firm that defended Las Vegas Sands.

However, the court said Lobo’s testimony only focused on events that happened before he had a relationship with Las Vegas Sands.

There was also a new debate about whether the US casino giant was still a partner of AAEC when it partnered with Hong Kong’s Galaxy Entertainment.

According to Las Vegas Sands, its partnership with AAEC ended before the Macau government announced the results of its licence tender.

Lobo was also asked about the letter from a Las Vegas Sands entity to the Macau Gaming Commission about the split on January 15, 2002.

Lobo confirmed that the agreement ended on January 15 and added that the split was mentioned in the gaming commission’s report.

It was also revealed during the hearings that AAEC’s lawyer, Jorge Menezes, was a co-author of the gaming commission’s report.

The trial will resume on July 1 when Carlos Lobo will return to testify along with another former advisor to the gaming commission.

AAEC initiated the lawsuit in 2012, arguing that Sands breached its contract for a casino licence in Macau in 2002 when the US operator switched partners.

It is seeking damages calculated at around 70 per cent of Sands’ Macau profits from 2004 to 2022. 

On September 4 2019, AAEC was allowed to increase its initial MOP3bn claim to MOP96.45bn (US$12bn) for lost profits from 2004 to 2018 while reserving its right to claim for lost profits up to 2022 in due course at the enforcement stage. LVS’ appeal over this decision is still pending.

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