Wharf Holdings is being sued in the United States for between US$50 million and $70 million for breach of contract and fraud by US cable television system provider United International Holdings (UIH). The federal court trial before a jury of 10 in Denver, Colorado, started on February 18 and is expected to last for six weeks. UIH has accused Wharf of fraud, breach of contract and engaging in a pattern of deceit. 'We are asking for damages of $50 million to $70 million as compensation for our losses because of Wharf's conduct,' UIH's US attorney, David Wilson, said. A Wharf Cable spokesman said it was too early to talk about provisions for the case. 'We believe we have a case and the allegations will be defended vigorously,' he said. The case began after an attempt by Wharf to dismiss various UIH claims and change the venue to Hong Kong failed. UIH has alleged in its suit that Wharf induced it to lend its expertise to the bid for a cable franchise in 1992 in Hong Kong based on deliberate and negligent misrepresentations regarding its ultimate right to invest. UIH said it was entitled to acquire a 10 per cent stake in the project under an oral option agreement made with Wharf Cable managing director Stephen Ng in October 1992. UIH vice-president Mark Schneider has testified UIH would never have become involved in the project had Wharf been up front about investment 'conditions', one of which was that a large telecommunications company, Nynex, would be involved as a partner early in the deal. According to Wharf's response to the lawsuit, company officials had informed UIH the agreement could not be finalised after Nynex officials turned down the invitation. '[Ng] did tell me Nynex was out,' Mr Schneider testified. 'If he had told me the second part [that the agreement was off], we would have removed our equipment and gotten out of there.'