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Sulu Sultanate case: Madrid’s appeals court dismisses ‘rogue’ arbitrator Stampa’s contempt of court charge, says Azalina

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman…the decision a ‘momentous victory for the rule of law.

KUALA LUMPUR – Madrid’s Court of Appeal dismissed Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa’s appeal and affirmed his guilty conviction for contempt of court yesterday (May 17).

Subsequently, this would mean that Stampa’s six-month jail sentence and one-year ban from practising as an arbitrator is maintained.

Stampa had previously ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion (about RM70 billion) to the self-proclaimed heirs of the Sulu Sultanate for its claims over Sabah.

This landmark decision is well welcomed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

“This is a momentous victory for the rule of law that will help preserve the sanctity of international arbitration as an alternative form of dispute resolution.

“It confirms, once more, that the Sulu fraud was made possible by the criminal behaviour of a rogue arbitrator.

“Malaysia is therefore also confident that this victory will serve as a further deterrent to the ominous actions carried out by the perpetrators of the Sulu fraud,” Azalina said in a statement Saturday.

She also thanked Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, for his steadfast commitment and determination towards protecting the sovereignty of the country at all costs, as well as his undivided support for the Malaysian team fighting this frivolous claim.

“My gratitude also goes to the foreign minister, Foreign Ministry, the Attorney-General Chambers, the Legal Affairs Division, the Sulu war room special secretariat, my cabinet colleagues, and Malaysians, generally, for their continuous support in this fight.

“The Madani government will continue to ensure that the sovereignty, security, and interests of the country are protected at all times,” she added.

Stampa was convicted and sentenced in December last year when Madrid’s criminal court found that he knowingly and willfully disobeyed the clear rulings and orders of Madrid’s High Court of Justice.

The high court issued a final binding order in 2021, which ruled that Malaysia had been improperly summoned to arbitrator appointment proceedings.

Malaysia is in the final process of annulling the US$14.92 billion awarded by Stampa.

Previously, eight citizens from the Philippines claiming to be heirs of the Sulu Sultanate had filed for arbitration proceedings in Spain to seek billions of US dollars from Malaysia over Sabah. – Scoop

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