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Gaming Guru

Tim O'Reiley

Sands attorneys unleash sharp attack on Suen

30 April 2013

LAS VEGAS -- With the jury waiting outside the courtroom, attorneys for Las Vegas Sands Corp. on Monday unleashed their sharpest and most personal attack on one-time consultant Richard Suen.

During arguments over instructions that will go to the jury when they enter deliberations, now predicted to happen next week, Sands attorney J. Stephen Peek labeled Suen both a “con artist” and a “snake oil salesman.” With the jury in the box on other days, attorneys have tried to shred Suen’s story of how he helped Sands gain its lucrative entry into Macau. However, they have not used such pointed terms.

During a break, Suen attorney John O’Malley called the attack “outrageous. It tells me they think the case is not going well for them.”

The issue involves whether the jury could accept various statements, particularly testimony by Suen, to back up his claim that he and his associates had contacts in high levels of China’s central government. Suen’s case relies heavily on the meetings with those officials and the game plan he drew up as paving the way for Sands’ ultimately successful bid and justifying his claimed success fee of $328 million.

“Nobody in this case ... is ever going to know what happened internally in the government of China,” Clark County District Judge Rob Bare said.

But a range of evidence, said Bare, points to Sands executives, notably Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and former President and Chief Operating Officer William Weidner who, “believed there was legitimacy” to Suen’s efforts.

The exchanges between Peek and Suen also became pointed, at times.

“Like you, I’m just trying to do the best I can as well,” Peek said. “And if that means I disagree with you time to time, then that means I disagree with you from time to time.... And I don’t know why you take offense with the fact that I disagree with you.”

Bare noted, “Here’s a little joke I’ve heard time to time, ‘Well, geez, you finally did something for the defense.’ That kind of tells me you kind of think I have made most of the rulings for the (Suen) side. I haven’t really thought of it that way. I just try to do each one in the best way possible.”