Petronas’ Subsidiaries In Azerbaijan Seized By Sulu Sultanate’s Heirs

Malaysia had stopped paying heirs of Sultan Sulu annual RM5,300 cession money since 2013 after the Lahad Datu armed incursion

TWO of Petronas’ subsidiaries in Azerbaijan were reported to have been seized by court bailiffs after an arbitration court in France ruled in March last year that Malaysia has to pay a whopping RM62.59 bil in compensation to descendants of the Sulu Sultanate.  

According to Financial Times, it was said that the court officers have seized Petronas’ Luxembourg-registered subsidiaries, Petronas Azerbaijan (Shah Deniz) and Petronas South Caucasus. 

The UK-based daily added that the holding companies seized are estimated to be worth more than RM8.87 bil.  

“This case is about colonialism’s history,” said the heirs’ lawyer, Elisabeth Mason, in the Financial Times report. 

“Unlike so many that got dispossessed, our clients have an ongoing contract since 1878 and, as such, have a path to justice where many others did not.” 

Ordered To Pay To The Sulu Heirs

In March last year, Spanish arbitrator, Gonzalo Stampa, had instructed the Malaysian government to pay at least US$14.92 bil (RM62.59 bil) to the descendants of the last Sulu sultan.  

The ruling was made following a violation of the 1878 agreement signed by Sultan Jamal Al Alam, Baron de Overbeck and the British North Borneo Company’s Alfred Dent.  

It is noted that Malaysia had stopped paying Sultan Sulu’s heirs their annual RM5,300 cession money since 2013 as a result of the Lahad Datu armed incursion.  

Dubbed the “largest arbitration in Spain”, the article said Stampa ruled that the 1878 treaty constituted a commercial “international private lease agreement.”  

And by stopping the payment since 2013, Malaysia had breached the agreement. If the award is not cancelled, Malaysia now has three months to pay up or risk paying interest.

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