Late Sultan's heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

A French arbitration court in February ordered Malaysia to pay the $15 billion sum to the descendents of the last Sultan of Sulu to settle a dispute over a colonial-era land deal

Reuters
Published : 29 Sept 2022, 02:03 PM
Updated : 29 Sept 2022, 02:03 PM

Heirs of a late Southeast Asian sultan filed a request in a Dutch court on Thursday to recognise and enforce a $15 billion arbitration award granted to them against Malaysia's government, their lawyer said. 

The petition was filed in The Hague Court of Appeal, said lawyer Paul Cohen, a lead co-counsel for the sultan's heirs from British law firm 4-5 Gray's Inn Square. 

"This filing in the Netherlands will soon be followed by other enforcement actions, of varying types, in multiple jurisdictions. This may include immediate, direct attachment of specific Malaysian assets in The Netherlands and elsewhere," Cohen told Reuters in an emailed statement. 

Malaysia's government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition. 

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the filings with Dutch court authorities.

 A French arbitration court in February ordered Malaysia to pay the $15 billion sum to the descendents of the last Sultan of Sulu to settle a dispute over a colonial-era land deal. 

Malaysia has obtained a stay on the ruling pending an appeal, but the award remains enforceable outside France under a United Nations treaty on international arbitration. 

Malaysia has said it did not recognise the heirs' claim and would take all steps to uphold the country's sovereignty. 

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher