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Mintz Recovers $300M in Cross-Border Asset Recovery Action

Key Facts

  • Mintz recovered over $300 million on behalf of client Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM), resolving an eleven-year dispute with Philippine casino operators Sureste Properties, Inc. (SPI) and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc. (BRHI)
  • Both SPI and BRHI are indirectly owned by billionaire Enrique Razon, Jr. through Bloomberry Resorts Corporation (BRC)
  • The dispute originated from a 2011 contract for the development and management of Solaire Resort & Casino in the Philippines that the defendants terminated shortly after Solaire opened in 2013
  • Following arbitration in Singapore, GGAM was awarded nearly $100 million in contract damages and costs, plus orders releasing a freeze on BRC shares GGAM acquired in 2012, and brought in the Mintz Cross-Border Asset Recovery team to enforce the award
  • On April 30, 2024, the parties completed the terms of a settlement whereby Sureste paid GGAM cash consideration of $300 million and released a claim to over $6 million held in a frozen GGAM account

The Situation

In 2011, Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM), contracted with Philippine casino owners/operators Sureste Properties, Inc. (SPI) and Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc. (BRHI) to develop, launch, and operate Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila. Both SPI and BHRI are indirectly owned by billionaire Enrique Razon, Jr. through Bloomberry Resorts Corporation (BRC). In 2012, GGAM helped take SPI and BRHI public through a back-door listing – a reverse acquisition into BRC, which is publicly traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange. As part of the deal, GGAM exercised option rights and invested $37 million to acquire approximately 10% of the shares of BRC. In 2013, shortly after Solaire’s successful launch, SPI and BRHI terminated the management services agreement. 

GGAM immediately commenced arbitration in Singapore over the termination and soon arranged a block sale of its BRC shares. However, in January 2014, the defendants orchestrated a freeze in trading of BRC’s stock on the Philippine Stock Exchange – halting GGAM’s sale – while the defendants filed for and obtained orders from the Philippine regional trial court that blocked GGAM from selling the shares during the arbitration. 

GGAM arbitrated the dispute for six years, ultimately prevailing in 2019. GGAM recognized that the defendants’ assets were concentrated in the Philippines, where they would face difficulties with enforcement of the award. They also understood that enforcement would require a global approach, extensive capabilities in asset tracing, and sophisticated enforcement strategies. GGAM turned to Mintz to develop and execute a global investigation and collection strategy.

The Approach

Mintz’s Cross-Border Asset Recovery team draws on deep experience in post-award / post-judgment litigation and the development of strategies that build pressure points to drive enforcement or obtain a favorable settlement. To support those efforts, we have curated a global network of investigators, asset tracing tools, and specialists to assist in identifying a client’s optimal path to recovery. We utilized that network and our in-house investigation capabilities to thoroughly understand the holdings and operations of Razon and his vast enterprise of multinational and multilayered corporate entities and trusts. 

Our approach initially focuses on finding assets that are (1) sufficient to satisfy the debt, (2) in an enforcement-friendly jurisdiction, and (3) held by a party against whom liability can be confirmed. In GGAM’s case, our investigation identified sufficient assets in the United States owned indirectly by Razon through numerous offshore companies and a Cayman trust. Our investigation of the operations of BRHI and SPI confirmed facts supporting a strong claim against Razon personally under the alter ego doctrine. 

We filed an action in the Southern District of New York to seek recognition and enforcement of the arbitration award under the New York Convention and to establish personal liability against Razon. By bringing the dispute to New York, we were able to litigate in an enforcement-friendly venue that combines reliable implementation of the New York Convention with robust post-judgment enforcement mechanisms. After over two years of hard-fought litigation, we successfully moved the court to bifurcate the trial and to schedule a quick bench proceeding to resolve BRHI’s and SPI’s defenses, to be followed (if necessary) by a later jury trial on the veil-piercing claim against Razon. 

The Outcome

A trial on the recognition and enforcement case was held in January 2024. At the close of evidence, the court initiated a mediation process that resulted in Razon agreeing to a global settlement. The defendants paid GGAM $300 million cash and agreed to vacate Philippine court restrictions, enabling GGAM to deliver its BRC shares to the defendants and to gain full access to over $6 million in accumulated dividends that had been frozen.

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