11 December

Spain: Spanish arbitrator Dr Gonzalo Stampa, who controversially ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.92 bn to self-claimed heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate, will face criminal charges in the Madrid Court on 11 December 2023.

09 November 2023

France: a judge recorded the Claimants’ withdrawal from their seizure over three Malaysian-owned diplomatic properties in Paris, previously disputed as part of the US$14.9bn arbitral award. The judge further directed the Claimants to pay 15,000 euros ($16,008) to Malaysia as costs, in addition to the 100,000euros ordered by a Paris Court of Appeal earlier this year.

06 November

France: the French Court had annulled the order of a statutory mortgage against Malaysian diplomatic buildings in Paris by a self-proclaimed Sulu group from the Philippines.

27 June

The Netherlands: The Hague Court of Appeal denies the Claimants’ request to enforce a decision issued by a French court last year ordering the Malaysian government to pay $14.9 billion. The Court did not recognize the award stating the original pact lacked a clause binding parties to arbitration and the French stay rendered the claim unenforceable in the Netherlands.

6 June

France: Malaysia wins a landmark victory in the Paris Court of Appeal, upholding Malaysia’s challenge against the partial award.  The Claimants’ as a result can no longer rely on the sham arbitration award in France for any purpose.

6 April

Malaysia: Following an investigation, the Ministry of Home Affairs issues an Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing, and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Order against Fuad A. Kiram, one of the Sulu claimants.

The Order cites Mr. Kiram’s participation in and commission of a terrorist act, evidenced by his connection to the Royal Sulu Forces (‘RSF’).

Link to document.

14 March

France: The claimant’s appeal to lift the Stay Order on the enforcement of Final Award is rejected and the Stay Order remains in place.

25 January

Spain: Constitutional Court rejects an appeal from the claimants.

24 January

Luxembourg: Decision on the Interim Relief proceedings. Court decides in Malaysia’s favour and lifts the bank attachments with immediate effect.

6 January

The Netherlands: Malaysia is served with the application to recognize and enforce the Final Award in The Netherlands.

11 July

Luxembourg: Attempts are made by the claimants to enforce the Final Award.

10 June

France: The Stay Order against the Exequatur Order which recognizes the preliminary award which was initially granted by the Paris Court is withdrawn following challenge by the claimants.

15 April

France: Malaysia files for a Stay of the Execution of the Final Award, meaning the award can’t be enforced.

3 March

France: Malaysia files an application to annul the Final Award.

28 February

France: The Final Award, a $14.9 billion arbitration Award, is published by Dr. Stampa against Malaysia. It is defiance of court orders in Spain and a Malaysian High Court. Malaysia completely rejects the Award and does not recognize its legitimacy.

3 January

France: Dr. Stampa moves the purported seat of arbitration from Madrid to Paris.

16 December

France: The Paris Court of Appeal grants a Stay Order against the Exequatur Order which recognizes the Preliminary Award.

14 December

Spain: Malaysia files a criminal complaint to the Attorney General of Spain due to Dr. Stampa ignoring Spanish Court orders.

10 December

France: Malaysia files an appeal against the Exequatur Order recognizing the Preliminary Award before the Paris Court of Appeal.

13 October

Spain: The High Court of Madrid decided that the Preliminary Award on Jurisdiction made by Dr. Stampa on 25 May 2020 is null and void following the High Court of Justice Madrid decision on 29 June 2021.

29 September

France: The Tribunal de Grande Instance recognized the Preliminary Award on jurisdiction granted by Dr. Stampa dated 25 May 2020 through an Exequatur Order.

29 June

Spain: The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid finds that the claimants did not serve the Government of Malaysia with proper notice for the claim in accordance with international law, instructing Dr. Stampa to close the proceedings. Dr. Stampa ignores the ruling.

25 May

Spain: Dr. Stampa issues his Preliminary Award, covering his supposed jurisdiction.

14 January

Malaysia: The Sabah High Court renders judgment in favour of the Government, declaring that the 1878 agreement does not contain any arbitration clause and the arbitrator has no jurisdiction to resolve the matter. The court orders Dr. Stampa and the claimants to stop arbitration proceedings, granting an injunction against them.

19 September

Malaysia: The Attorney General of Malaysia, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, sends a letter to the claimants’ legal representative, Paul Cohen, offering to re-commence payment of the cession monies under the 1878 agreement. This letter was sent without the authority of the Government of Malaysia.

22 May

Spain: The Civil and Commercial Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid appoints Dr. Gonzalo Stampa as the arbitrator for the case.

2 November

Spain: The claimants serve notice of their intention to commence arbitration, despite here being no arbitration clause in the 1878 agreement.


UK: The claimants - self-proclaimed ‘heirs’ to the Sultan of Sulu -, through their legal counsel, approach the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) about a supposed breach of the 1878 Agreement. The FCO dismisses the approach.


A violent armed invasion of Sabah, launched from the Sulu Archipelago, under the orders of the self-proclaimed Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, sees 78 people killed. The Government of Malaysia takes decisive and logical action in response to a threat to its security and ends the payments under the 1878 agreement.


The Federation of Malaysia is founded, and inherits the 1878 agreement.


The people of Sabah exercise their right to self-determination, deciding to join the Federation of Malaysia.


The British North Borneo Company transferred the interest, powers, and rights relating to the State of North Borneo to His Majesty’s British Government.


A case is heard in the High Court of the State of North Borneo to determine the rightful heirs of Sultan Kiram II. The subsequent Macaskie Judgment names nine heirs and payments under the 1878 agreement resume.


The last supposed Sultan of Sulu, Kiram II, dies without any heirs. The British North Borneo Company stopped payment under the 1878 agreement.  


The Sultan of Sulu confirms the cession of certain islands. The cession money is increased by 300 dollars.


Spain renounces, as far as regards the British Government, all claims of sovereignty over the territories of the continent of Borneo that belong or have belonged to the Sultan of Sulu, and which form part of the territories administered by the British North Borneo Company.


The Sultan of Sulu, Baron de Overbeck, and Alfred Dent enter into an agreement that sees the Sultan of Sulu granting and ceding his land and territory in North Borneo. An amount of 5,000 dollars (local currency at the time) is given as cession money.