Friday, September 22, 2023

Sultan of Sulu Award: $14.92bn restitution

The Arbitrator of the case of the Sultan of Sulu´s heirs v. Malaysia has announced the Final Award, which orders Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion to the claimants, represented by B.Cremades & Asociados and 4-5 Gray's Inn Square


Yesterday, 28 February, Dr. Gonzalo Stampa, the Sole Arbitrator of the Sultan of Sulu case, made in Paris the following award and order:

  • Declared that the 1878 Contract is an international private lease, commercial in nature.
  • Declared that Malaysia, the Respondent, breached the 1878 Contract.
  • Declared the 1878 Contract terminated effective 1 January 2013.
  • Declared that the claimants are entitled to recover the restitution value of the exploitation rights leased under the 1878 Contract and the 1903 Deed of Confirmation, with a pre-award interest of 3.96% per annum, from 1 January 2013 until 2044, and orders Malaysia to pay the amount of USD 14.92 billion.
  • Ordered Malaysia to pay to the heirs post-award interest on the sum indicated in the preceding paragraph at the rate of 10% simple interest per annum. The Arbitrator granted a grace period of three months from the date of the Final Award during which no interest shall accrue to enable Malaysia to meet the financial and administrative requirements for the payment of the amount of damages determined in the Final Award.

Lawyers Paul H. Cohen and Elisabeth A. Mason, of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square and Bernardo M. Cremades and Bernardo Cremades, Jr., of B. Cremades & Asociados represented the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu v. Malaysia, as reported by Legal Dealmaker on February 16.

“The arbitrator fulfilled his mandate scrupulously and lawfully, ruling on a dispute of a contractual nature between the parties. He was not asked to determine the question of sovereignty over Sabah. The claimants contend (and the arbitrator agreed) that the 1878 agreement concerned the rights to commercial exploitation of the natural resources existing in the leased territories.”

Bernardo Cremades Jr.

“We are very pleased that, after suffering a commercially unfair situation for so long, the Sole Arbitrator has settled the contract between our clients and Malaysia, awarding the Sultan’s Heirs compensation that reflects the spirit of the original agreement. Even before Malaysia’s breach in 2013, Malaysia was paying around €1,000 per year for the right to exploit natural resources for which Malaysia was receiving three million times more profit. Justice has finally been done.”

Paul H. Cohen

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