Arbitrator Stampa, who ruled in favour of Sulu 'heirs', has contempt charge upheld

KUALA LUMPUR: Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa, who previously ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion to the self-proclaimed heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate for its claims over Sabah, has failed in his bid to appeal his contempt of court sentence.

Stampa, who was previously found guilty of contempt by a Spanish High Court, had his appeal dismissed by a Madrid appellate court yesterday.

Then, he was sentenced to six-months imprisonment and banned from practicing as an arbitrator for a year. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said in a statement, said the Madrid Court of Appeal's decision confirmed the lower's decision.

She said it reaffirms that Stampa knowingly and wilfully disobeyed the clear rulings and orders of the Madrid High Court of Justice, resulting from the nullification of his appointment as arbitrator.

"Malaysia welcomes this landmark ruling as 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.

She said the government was confident that the latest develop would serve as a "further deterrent" to perpetrators of the "Sulu fraud".

"The Madani government will continue to ensure that the sovereignty, security, and interests of Malaysia are protected at all times," she said.

Previously, Filipino citizens who claimed to be heirs of the defunct Sulu Sultanate, filed for arbitration proceedings in Spain to seek billions of US dollars from Malaysia for their claims over Sabah.

Stampa was previously appointed arbitrator for the case until the High Court of Justice annulled his judicial appointment in 2021.

However, he continued to hear the case and moved his seat of arbitration to Paris, France.

Later he ruled in favour of the claimants.Malaysia challenged this ruling in France and Spain.

The French court has granted a stay order on the award pending a decision by Putrajaya that it infringed on its sovereignty over Sabah.

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories