Malaysia expresses utmost concern over attempts to undermine criminal proceedings against Gonzalo Stampa

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has expressed its utmost concern on any frivolous and vexatious attempts to undermine and disrupt the course of criminal proceedings against Gonzalo Stampa.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the recent guerrilla attempts as observed in the media that the motion filed on Dec 4 "were nothing more than the latest charade in the Sulu Fraud, to subvert the rule of law".

"These forms of baseless and desperate moves before the criminal trial of Stampa, to exert pressure on the Malaysian government, Spanish courts and public prosecutor are, as such, should be viewed as an additional fraudulent procedural activity.

"The apparent sole purpose is to interfere and deflect from the ongoing criminal proceedings in Spain against Stampa," she said in a statement.

She said Stampa was accused of the suspected criminal offences of serious contempt of court and unqualified practice of a profession.

She said the Malaysian government had the utmost respect for the Spanish courts and their rulings and categorically refuted any media reports that suggest otherwise.

"Throughout this case, Malaysia has acted in order to preserve its rights as a sovereign state in response to consistent egregious activity from the Filipino citizens and their legal representatives.

"The government of Malaysia has the utmost confidence in the Spanish judicial system in delivering justice to the 32 million Malaysians."

The courts of Spain, France and the Netherlands have already confirmed Malaysia's overall position concerning the Sulu case and regarding the Purported Final Award issued by Stampa on Feb 28, 2022, which condemned Malaysia to pay USD14.9 billion.

The High Court declared the annulment of Stampa's appointment as arbitrator and ordered him to put an end to the proceedings because his only title to act as arbitrator was null.

Stampa, who collected more than USD2.5 million from the alleged Sulu heirs financed by a litigation funder, Therium, knowingly refused to comply with those orders.

In turn, the courts in France and The Netherlands have declared in June that Malaysia never submitted to arbitration and therefore the sham arbitration should have never taken place.

Finally, she said, the attempts of the Filipino citizens to enforce the purported arbitral awards issued by Stampa in both France and the Netherlands had also been unsuccessful to date, as a result of the decisions by the courts of these countries.

"These court rulings confirm that, since their very inception, the Sulu fraud and the purported arbitration have been nothing more than a well-fabricated but completely flawed and baseless extortion attempt on the people of Malaysia.

"The government of Malaysia shall ensure that the sovereignty, security and interest of Malaysia are protected and upheld at all times."

It was reported that the Madrid Court had carried out their own investigations and filed charges against Stampa and if found guilty, he faces a jail sentence and fine.

Eight citizens of the Philippines, who claimed to be heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate, had filed for arbitration proceedings in Spain to seek for billions of US dollars from Malaysia over Sabah and a court in Madrid, Spain had in March 2019 appointed Gonzalo Stampa to be the arbitrator for the Sulu claimants' case.

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