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Baha Mar developers sue Chinese construction firm for $2.25bn

By Robert Simmons
The original developers of the Bahamas’ new Baha Mar integrated resort is suing the Chinese contactor responsible for its construction, seeking over $2bn in damages.

In a case lodged in the New York Supreme Court, Sarkis Izmirlian, an Armenian businessman and director of the casino’s former owner, BML Properties, alleges that China Construction America purposefully delayed the development of the property during construction according to the Financial Times.

The contractor is a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest construction firms, China State Construction Engineering, and was in charge of building the casino’s floor and 2,200 hotel rooms, entertainment and dining centres, and a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

BML Properties contends that the contractor put in place a broad-ranging conspiracy to slow the project’s progress, understaffing the site and moving people and equipment to the site of a competing development. According to the complaint, this action led to the project missing its deadline and Izmirlian filing for bankruptcy in 2015.

Furthermore, the suit accuses China Construction America of collecting millions of dollars in unjustified fees, and seeks $2.25bn in damages.

The two parties are no strangers to legal wrangles having previously faced each other in court over issues with the same project: In 2015, BML Properties sought damages of over $192m in the UK’s High Court.

The Nassau-based resort eventually welcomed guests in early 2017 after being acquired by Hong Kong-listed Chow Tai Fook Enterprise.
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