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Adelson Threatened with Lawsuit Over Macau License

5 March 2002

by David Strow

LAS VEGAS --Asian American Development Corp., Sheldon Adelson's former partner in an effort to win a gaming license in the Chinese city of Macau, is threatening to haul the Las Vegas casino operator into court over a break-up between the partners.

Adelson's Las Vegas Sands, owner of the Venetian, had been bidding on the license as part of Asian American. But when the Venetian was awarded one of three casino licenses by Macau officials last month, it was as a member of another consortium, called Galaxy Casino S.A.

In a statement Sunday, Asian American accused the Venetian of pulling out of the partnership just before the licenses were awarded, and without notice. It claimed the Venetian used research compiled by Asian American to help the Galaxy bid.

"The partners of Asian American Entertainment Corp. have suffered not just the humiliation of loss of face or damage to their reputations in the Asian region and around the world but will continue to suffer economic loss due to the disreputable actions of the Venetian Casino and its cohorts," Asian American President Marshall Hao said in a statement.

In a statement, the Venetian said it entered into a letter of intent with Asian American in October, and later extended it to Jan. 15.

Upon its expiration, the Venetian said it offered to extend the letter of intent again "on certain terms," but that Asian American refused. The Venetian said it then sent a notice of termination to the company.

A spokesman for the Venetian declined additional comment.

Asian American said it has appealed the decision of Macau's casino licensing committee to Macau's chief executive and to the Hong Kong and Macau Office of the State Council in Beijing, claiming the licensing committee was prejudiced against the company's Taiwanese business connections. One of Asian American's investors is the China Development Industrial Bank, based in Taiwan.

Asian American also said it is considering filing suit against the Venetian in Nevada. The company said it would seek damages for financial losses caused by the break-up, as well as damages for loss of future earnings from a Macau casino.

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