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MBS drops $10m debt lawsuit against Aussie high roller

MBS drops $10m debt lawsuit against Aussie high roller

Source: Straits Times
Date Published: 13 Jun 2019
Author: K.C. Vijayan

The amount claimed by the Marina Bay Sands casino included the casino debt of $9,996,250, plus interest of $3,782,690 and costs of $7,398.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) has dropped a $10 million lawsuit against Australian-Chinese high roller Wang Zhi Cai, ending a pursuit from Singapore to Sydney over an alleged five-year debt.

A High Court notice of discontinuance was filed last Thursday by MBS' lawyers from Drew & Napier. There was no order as to costs.

On Tuesday, when contacted, MBS said the matter with Mr Wang, 63, had been resolved amicably.

"The terms of the settlement are confidential. We look forward to inviting Mr Wang back to our property as a valued patron in the near future," its spokesman added.

The move averted a court stand-off, following Mr Wang's success in getting the High Court in January to set aside a default judgment for the debt MBS had obtained in 2017.

In January, Justice Chan Seng Onn took the Singapore court order off the table after hearing the arguments of lawyers from both sides. He allowed the appeal by Mr Wang, who had to file his defence within 21 days in order to contest the case.

MBS had obtained the 2017 judgment after Mr Wang failed to appear in court. The casino followed up with a Sydney court order to enforce the Singapore judgment against his assets in Australia.

The Singapore court order provided for the recovery of more than $13 million, the biggest sum sought by MBS from an Australian casino patron. This comprised casino debt of $9,996,250, plus interest of $3,782,690 and costs of $7,398.

Mr Wang, a high-net-worth patron, had visited the casino in April 2013 and January 2014, and admitted to incurring losses at the casino, in court papers filed.

But he claimed he had not dealt directly with the casinos he patronised. Instead, he said, he had gone through a Beijing-based junket operator who would pay for his losses and collect his winnings.

Had the case gone to trial, an issue would have been the role of any junket operator and others in the payment process.

In documents filed, Mr Wang said he had been introduced to MBS by his junket operator, who had also previously arranged his patronage of casinos in London and Seoul.

He said he had not appeared in court to defend himself within the appropriate time limit in 2016 because he was unaware of the court papers filed by MBS.

MBS, represented by lawyer Kelvin Tan, had earlier stressed that to date, it has had no junket arrangements with junket operators here or overseas.

Through his lawyers Alfred Lim and Jamie Lye from Fullerton Law Chambers, Mr Wang affirmed on Tuesday that the matter had been resolved amicably.

"MBS has conveyed to me that they look forward to inviting me back as a valued patron in the near future," he said, adding that he has acknowledged the casino's sincerity in welcoming him back.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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