Wan Junaidi: Paris court suspends RM62.5b award to Sulu sultanate pending Malaysia’s appeal

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Government making preparations for a hearing on the cancellation of the final award, which includes the seizure order against the two Petronas units.

The Paris Court of Appeal has allowed Malaysia’s application to suspend a US$14.92 billion (RM62.5 billion) award to be paid to the descendants of the Sulu Sultanate, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said in a statement that the Paris Court of Appeal had allowed Malaysia’s application to stay the enforcement of the amount granted to the descendants of the Sulu Sultanate.

In February, a French arbitration court instructed Putrajaya to pay at least US$14.92 billion to the descendants of the Sulu Sultanate following a claim made by Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa.

Wan Junaidi said the basis of the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal was that the final award would affect the immunity of Malaysia’s sovereignty.

“The suspension order was the result of various actions taken by Malaysia to ensure that the interests and sovereignty of the country are always protected and preserved.”

“As a result of the suspension order issued on July 12 the final award cannot be enforced in any country until the final decision by the Paris Court regarding the application for cancellation of the final award made by the government of Malaysia,” he said.

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that bailiffs in Luxembourg had seized two Petronas subsidiaries in Azerbaijan as part of an ongoing dispute between heirs of the Sulu sultanate and the government of Malaysia.

According to the report, bailiffs took over the Luxembourg-registered offices of Petronas Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) and Petronas South Caucasus, with an estimated net worth of nearly RM9 billion, as part of an ongoing dispute between the heirs and the government.

Late yesterday, Petronas confirmed that two of its subsidiaries in Azerbaijan had been served with a “saisie-arret” (garnishment procedure) on July 11 but added that it had divested assets and fully repatriated proceeds from the two units.

The state-owned energy company said that it views the actions taken against it as baseless and claimed to be working vigorously to defend its position.

Wan Junaidi said that following the success of obtaining the suspension order, the government was making preparations for a hearing on the cancellation of the final award, which includes the seizure order against the two Petronas units.

He said the government would continue to take all measures accordingly, including legal action, to terminate all such claims and ensure that the interests and sovereignty of Malaysia are always protected and preserved.

“The government insists that it has never recognised such claims and never set aside its sovereignty.”

“The government has also taken legal action in Spain that includes making applications for recognition and enforcement of declaration orders and injunctions for termination arbitration proceedings in Spain.”

He said that following the legal actions taken by the government, the High Court of Madrid, Spain, on June 29, has revoked the appointment of arbitrator Stampa and decided all arbitration proceedings and any decision by Stampa, including the final award are invalid, void and unenforceable under the law.

Wan Junaidi also added that the government has filed criminal proceedings against Stampa for contempt of court in Madrid.

He said that proceedings for this matter are still ongoing. – TMI


Earlier report:

Jul 13, Petronas confirms two subsidiaries served asset seizure notice