The Court of Final Appeal of Macau has denied the claims of Asian American Entertainment Corporation (AAEC) for MOP3 billion (US$375.7 million) from Sands China due to improperly breaking off a 2001 agreement to bid for a Macau casino licence, it was revealed on Friday. Following the termination of the contract, Las Vegas Sands acquired a casino licence in February 2002 in a partnership with Galaxy Entertainment.
The decision of the Court of Final Appeal rejected the request of the company controlled by Taiwanese businessman Marshall Hao, also known as Shi Sheng Hao, to revoke the ruling of the American judge concerning this case.
The appeal of AAEC stated that firstly the decision of the American court was not definitive, and that secondly the company is based in Macau and as such the law of the territory should be applied instead of American law to rule on the case.
In Macau Law, it specifies that the law of the territory shall prevail over the decision of a foreign court if the foreign decision is against Macau residents and at the same time imposes a heavier penalty than the Macau law would apply.
However, this time, the Macau Court of Final Appeal stated that from the beginning the complaint was ‘dismissed with prejudice’, which normally bars further litigation by the same claimant for the same claim. It implies that the case could not be overruled if the American decision was accepted in Macau.
Concerning the second point of the appeal of Asian American Entertainment, the Court acknowledged that the company is registered in Macau but said that it failed to prove that their de facto headquarters are in the territory for the same case.
End of story
The decision by the Macau Court of Final Appeal puts an end to a case that first entered the American courts in 2007. Initially, AAEC filed a complaint with the District Court of Nevada, which denied to the company its claims for MOP3 billion compensation. Upon appealing, the same decision was confirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on 10 April 2010. Only after seeing its claims denied in the United States did AAEC decide to take the issue to Macau.
In the Chinese Special Administrative Region, the decision of the Court of Second Instance on the case was known on 19 June 2014 and it gave formal recognition and allowed enforcement in the Chinese territory of the United States’ court decision. This time, the company controlled by Marshall Hao will not have the possibility of a fourth appeal.