Sulu Case: Spanish arbitrator who ordered Malaysia to pay billions faces criminal charges - Azalina
10 November 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KUALA LUMPUR: A Spanish arbitrator who issued a controversial award ordering Malaysia to pay US$14.92 billion (RM69.88 billion) to the self-claimed heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate will face criminal charges in a Madrid court on Dec 11.
Gonzalo Stampa, who was appointed by the High Court of Justice of Madrid to arbitrate the territorial dispute between Malaysia and self-claimed of the defunct Sulu heirs, is accused of fraud and abuse of power.
According to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Azalina Othman Said, the Madrid court had conducted its own investigations and filed charges against Stampa, who could face a jail sentence and fine if found guilty.
"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 said in an online press conference.
Azalina is currently in London to meet lawyers appointed by the Malaysian government to challenge the third phase of territorial claims by the Philippine claimants.
She said that Stampa's award was a "fraud award" because his judicial appointment was annulled by the Madrid court 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.
She added that 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," she said.
The Malaysian government will be represented during the proceedings as it was the complainant.