November 28, 2022
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Late Sultan’s heirs press $15B claim, target Malaysian assets in Netherlands

KUALA LUMPUR — Heirs of a late Southeast Asian sultan on Thursday requested a Dutch court docket for permission to grab Malaysian assets in the Netherlands, their lawyer mentioned, looking for enforcement of a $15 billion arbitration award granted to them towards Malaysia’s authorities.

The petition in The Hague Courtroom of Attraction is an escalation of a protracted operating dispute over a colonial-era land deal that threatens world assets of the Malaysian authorities and state-owned firms.

Malaysia’s authorities, which has mentioned it doesn’t acknowledge the heirs’ declare, didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon the Dutch petition.

A French arbitration court docket in February ordered Malaysia to pay the $15 billion sum — the second largest arbitration award on report — to the descendants of the final Sultan of Sulu.

Malaysia obtained a keep on the ruling pending an attraction, however the award stays enforceable outdoors France beneath a United Nations treaty on worldwide arbitration.

The heirs of the sultan, who as soon as managed a territory spanning rainforest-covered islands in the southern Philippines and elements of Borneo island, requested the Dutch court docket to acknowledge and implement the arbitration award.

The heirs want to take “recourse against assets of Malaysia, which are located in the Netherlands,” in line with a replica of the court docket petition shared by their lawyer.

Reuters was unable to instantly confirm the submitting with Dutch court docket authorities.

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“This filing in the Netherlands will soon be followed by other enforcement actions, of varying types, in multiple jurisdictions,” mentioned lawyer Paul Cohen, a lead co-counsel for the sultan’s heirs from British regulation agency 4-5 Grey’s Inn Sq..

“This may include immediate, direct attachment of specific Malaysian assets in The Netherlands and elsewhere,” Mr. Cohen instructed Reuters in an emailed assertion.

The petition didn’t specify which assets.

A few of Malaysia’s greatest firms have operations in the Netherlands, together with state oil agency Petronas and palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantations.

The businesses had no speedy touch upon the Dutch petition when contacted by Reuters.

In July, two Luxembourg-based subsidiaries of Petronas had been seized by court docket bailiffs as a part of the heirs’ effort to say the award.

Petronas, which has described the Luxembourg seizure as “baseless,” has mentioned it might take authorized measures to stave off future seizure makes an attempt in 44 international locations the place it had assets and restrict the corporate’s funds saved overseas.

The dispute is over a deal signed in 1878 between two European colonists and the sultan for using his territory in present-day Malaysia — an settlement that unbiased Malaysia honored till 2013, paying the monarch’s descendants about $1,000 a 12 months.

Kuala Lumpur stopped the funds after a bloody incursion by supporters of the previous sultanate who needed to reclaim land from Malaysia.

The heirs went to an arbitration court docket over the suspension of funds. Malaysia didn’t take part in nor acknowledge the Arbitration. — Reuters

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