http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-17/an-lao-govt-sued-over-investment-misconduct/4206256 The Lao are learning fast from the Thai's... A Macau-based company is suing the Laotian Government over what it claims is the illegal taking of a $400 million dollar investment. Sanum Investments is behind several hotel and casino projects in Laos, including Savan Vegas in Savannakhet. The company says it invested in Laos in good faith and accuses the government of breaking its promise to protect foreign investors against "greed and exploitation." Sanum says the government is guilty of misconduct for allowing a well-connected Laos family and their companies to seize control of Sanum's prize asset, the Thanaleng Slot Machine Club, located close to the capital, Vientiane. Further accusations centre on a retroactive $23 million tax bill, and the arbitrary revoking of licences and concessions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The claims will be handled by the World Bank's International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes using treaties signed by Laos. Sanum's president Jody Jordahl says the company has been left with no other option, after taking "every possible step" inside Laos to negotiate a settlement. "We've met with our minority partners, we've met with the government, we've gone through the office of economic dispute resolution, which is what's called for in the dispute resolution clause and we've gone through the courts and unfortunately have gotten nowhere," he told Radio Australia's Connect Asia. Mr Jordhal says he is confident the World Bank's tribunal will return a favourable verdict, but hopes an agreement can still be reached without arbitration. "We hope the government steps up and recognises its responsibility and helps us fix the issues that have come up in Laos," he said. "If not, we'll certainly pursue these arbitrations (sic) to their final settlement phase. "This (is) really a key issue for all investors throughout the region, because if this is the way that our government treats foreign investors and honours its international obligation, then it's not a safe environment for the international investment community, so it's an important topic for everyone." The Laos Government has declined Connect Asia's request for an interview or statement on the matter.