After Winning $15 Billion in Arbitration, Heirs of Sultan of Sulu Ready to Seize Malaysian Property in Paris
French bailiffs are seeking to enforce a court order to seize three Malaysian government properties in Paris. The seizures are related to the Sultan of Sulu’s heirs winning court over assets worth $15 billion, according to the heirs’ lawyers and court documents obtained by Reuters.
The shabby-looking Malaysian national flag flutters in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo: AP)
Kuala Lumpur halted the payments after a bloody attack by supporters of the former sultanate seeking to reclaim their lands from Malaysia in 2013. The heirs of the sultan, who once controlled territory that included the rainforest-covered islands of the southern Philippines and parts of Borneo, said they were not involved in the attack. They took the matter to an arbitration court.
A French judge in December last year granted the heirs’ request to seize three Malaysian government properties in Paris to pay off a debt of 2.3 million euros ($2.46 million) they said Malaysia owed them, according to court documents shared by heir attorney.
The attempted seizure in Paris has never been reported before.
Jamalul Kiram III, former Sultan of Sulu in the southern Philippines region in front of the Blue Mosque in Taguig, south of Manila, February 22, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco)
The French judge also found that the property, which is located in the 16th administrative area near the Malaysian Embassy in Paris, does not qualify as a diplomatic premises, according to court documents.
Unlike the embassy, the venue has no official signage and is not subject to French tax exemptions, the judge said.
A spokesman for Malaysia’s law ministry said court officials appeared at the Malaysian Embassy in Paris, but were turned away. They declined to comment further. Malaysia’s foreign ministry and embassy in Paris declined to comment.
Former Sultan of Sulu Jamalul Kiram III (seated right) with his followers put up a placard in front of the Blue Mosque in Maharlika village, Taguig city, south of Manila, March 1, 2013. (Photo: Reuters)
Reuters could not confirm whether bailiffs tried to enter the three properties that were subject to foreclosure orders.