AP NEWS

Jury selection begins in Vegas Sands lawsuit worth millions

March 4, 2019
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FILE - This June 17, 2014 file photo shows the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Palazzo in Las Vegas. The properties are owned and operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp. Jury selection has begun for a trial to determine how much casino corporation Las Vegas Sands Corp. has to pay to a Hong Kong businessman who helped the company open its first resort in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. A judge and attorneys for Richard Suen and Sands told about 50 prospective jurors on Monday, March 4, 2019, that a panel of 15 will begin hearing the case March 11. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jury selection began Monday for a trial to determine how much casino corporation Las Vegas Sands Corp. has to pay to a Hong Kong businessman for helping the company open its first resort in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.

Clark County District Court Judge Rob Bare and attorneys for Richard Suen and Sands said it could take several days of questioning prospective jurors before a panel of 15 is seated.

Testimony is expected to begin March 11. The trial could take seven weeks.

Sands is headed by billionaire casino magnate and Republican party donor Sheldon Adelson, who is not expected to testify because he is battling cancer.

The company announced last week the 85-year-old board chairman and CEO is receiving treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and hasn’t been at the company’s Las Vegas offices for more than two months.

Suen won breach-of-contract judgments of $44 million in 2008 and $70 million in 2013 after arguing that his business, Round Square Co., should have been paid $5 million plus 2 percent of Sands’ Macau profits for providing Sands executives with key introduction to Chinese officials.

The company argued that Suen did not help it get approval to build the first of its Macau casinos in 2004 and deserves nothing.

Sands now owns the Venetian and Palazzo resorts and Sands Expo Center on the Las Vegas Strip, five casinos in Macau and one in Pennsylvania.

The case was twice appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which ruled in 2016 that a jury in Las Vegas should decide just the damages question. A jury decision could be appealed again to the state high court.

Suen’s attorneys presented an expert who put the value of Suen’s services at $328 million.

Sands argued in Supreme Court filings that Suen should only receive $1 million.