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Spanish arbitrator in Sulu case to face charges in December, says Azalina
Published on: Friday, November 10, 2023
By: Bernama
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Spanish arbitrator in Sulu case to face charges in December, says Azalina
Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa faces a jail sentence and fine if found guilty. (File pic)
Kuala Lumpur: Spanish arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa, who controversially ordered Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion (RM69.88 billion) to the self-claimed heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate, will face charges in the Madrid court on Dec 11.

Law and institutional reform minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the Madrid court had carried out its own investigations and filed charges against Stampa, who faces a jail sentence and fine if found guilty.

“The date for the hearing was set following persistent and aggressive demands by the Malaysian government. This is not a civil case, and Stampa is facing criminal charges.

“This is the main factor that offers consistency in Malaysia’s claim that Stampa’s award as an international arbitrator was an illegal and baseless act,” she told members of the media via a press conference held online.

Azalina is now in London to meet lawyers appointed by the Malaysian government to challenge the third phase of territorial claims by eight Philippine citizens claiming to be the legal heirs to the Sulu sultanate.

She said the controversial award by Stampa ordering Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion was a “fraud award” because the High Court of Justice of Madrid, which had appointed him as the arbitrator, had annulled his judicial appointment in June 2021.

“Despite the decision, Stampa continued to hear the arbitration case, even though he lacked the authority to act as an arbitrator and should have immediately put an end to the purported arbitration proceedings,” she said.

Stampa then moved his seat of arbitration to Paris in February 2022, where he made the award against Malaysia.

“That is the reason why the Malaysian government finds the criminal case against Stampa on Dec 11 very important, because it can annul all the awards made by Stampa,” Azalina said.

She added that the Malaysian government would be represented during the proceedings as it was the complainant.

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