Paris Court allows Malaysia´s bid to temporarily stop sulu Sultanates heirs from enforcing a us$14.9b arbitration win.

On Tuesday, the Paris Court of Appeal ordered a stay of enforcement of the $14.92 billion award, issued on 28 February by a Spanish arbitrator against Malaysia, pending the outcome of annulment proceedings brought by Malaysian authorities against the arbitration.

The order indicates that the suspension of the award is intended to avoid “serious prejudice” against Malaysia’s rights. In a statement, the Malaysian government welcomed the tribunal’s decision, adding that it maintains “its position that it does not recognise any of the proceedings in the purported arbitration proceedings”.

The Paris court’s decision came after Luxembourg authorities on Monday seized two subsidiaries of Malaysian state oil company Petronas in response to an award by Filipino claimants who say they are heirs of the former sultan of Jolo.

On 28 February, the Spanish arbitrator ruled in Paris in favour of the claimants, seeking compensation for their historic rights in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. The former Sultan of Jolo, who occupied part of Philippine and Malaysian territory, signed an agreement in 1878 to cede his territories in northern Borneo, in what is now Sabah, in exchange for annual rents that continued to be collected by his heirs.

The Malaysian authorities call the award by the Spaniard “null and void”, claiming that the arbitrator was dismissed by the High Court of Justice in Madrid, after which he moved to Paris, and do not recognise the claimants as heirs of the former sultan.

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