Weidner says trial hurt China ties


William Weidner, the former Las Vegas Sands Corp. president, now involved in casino projects in Taiwan and the Philippines, told a Las Vegas jury that he had sought the backing of the company’s board in 2009 against Sheldon Adelson, the chairman and chief executive, because of concerns about China’s reaction to a court battle over how the company won its Macau gaming concession. Weidner was testifying in the retrial of Hong Kong businessman Richard Suen’s claims that he is owed $328 million for helping the company get the rights. Weidner said the first trial, which Suen won, “was injurious to relations in China” and had made him lose confidence in Adelson. “It should have never been in a courtroom like this,” he said. Weidner left the company after losing the board showdown; Nevada’s top court later overturned Suen’s victory and ordered a new trial.

Weidner meanwhile backed up Suen’s claims that the company had sought some credit with Chinese officials for a decision in 2001  by leaders of the US House of Representatives friendly with Adelson to block a vote on a resolution opposing Beijing’s bid to host the 2008 Olympics. “We did have something to do with the bill,” he said. “We found out what they couldn’t find out. Did I want credit for it? Absolutely.”

China’s foreign ministry commented on the trial this week to deny Beijing’s involvement in Macau’s awarding of gaming concessions, a key element of Suen’s case.  Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.  meanwhile said it reserved the right to take legal action following reporting on Adelson’s testimony last week over his split with the company after they were jointly awarded a concession in 2002.