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Sands facing 2 employment lawsuits over Macau operations

The headaches that Las Vegas Sands Corp. is feeling over its casino operations in the Chinese gambling island of Macau are continuing. The company has two lawsuits coming up that were filed by former employees or business partners of Sands' Macau division. Billions of dollars in judgments could be at stake in the commercial litigation.

The first case scheduled to go trial concerns a former consultant who says he was not paid for services rendered. The plaintiff in that case says he was hired around 2001 to help Sands obtain a casino license in Macau. He claims that he arranged meetings between Sands executives and Chinese officials that led to the license being granted but that Sands never paid him.

This is the second go-round for this litigation. The plaintiff prevailed in Nevada state court in 2008 and was awarded $58.6 million, but that verdict was overturned on appeal two years later. He is seeking $328 million in damages. Trial is scheduled to begin on April 3.

In the second case, a Taiwanese businessman contends that Sands improperly ended a contractual relationship with his company. The second plaintiff says that Sands and his company agreed to seek the casino license jointly, with the plaintiff's company owning more than 70 percent of the venture. He claims that Sands improperly changed partners at the last minute. He is seeking what he says would have been his company's share of Sands' profits since that time, or more than $10 billion. If left unsettled, that case could go to trial late this year or early 2014.

Sands denies that either plaintiff contributed to the obtaining of the Macau casino license and disputes the merits of both cases.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Sands Dispute Heads to Court," Kate O'Keeffe and Alexandra Berzon, April 1, 2013

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