Spanish court finds Stampa guilty of contempt of court, sentences him to six-month-jail

KUALA LUMPUR: Rogue arbitrator Gonzalo Stampa has been found guilty of contempt of court and has been sentenced by the Spanish Court to six months in prison.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the court also imposed on Stampa a ban from practising as an arbitrator for a year.
“The efforts by this MADANI Government in addressing and putting a stop to the Sulu fraud has not been in vain.
“We persist in the fight for justice, and will continue our efforts to annul the Final Award,” she in a post on X.
On May 25, 2020, Stampa issued a purported Final Award of
US$14.9 billion (RM62.59 billion) to eight self-proclaimed heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate.
In a bid to enforce the award, they were reported to have tried to seal the assets of national oil company Petronas in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, apart from targeting the country’s diplomatic assets in France.
In December 2021, after the unprecedented change of arbitration seat from Spain to France, Malaysia – which has complete and unwavering confidence in the Spanish judicial system – filed a complaint against Stampa with the Public Prosecutor of Spain on the grounds that he had acted in contempt of court by repeatedly disobeying the orders of the Madrid High Court and continued to forum shop in other jurisdictions.
On Dec 11 last year, the court heard submissions from both parties where the Malaysian Government urged the Madrid Court to mete out a jail sentence on Stampa.
On the same day, Azalina in a statement said that the Spanish Public Prosecutor’s Office and Malaysia had accused Stampa of the criminal offence of serious contempt of court and the
Public Prosecutor’s Office has also accused him of
unqualified professional practice.
“These accusations are based on the fact that Stampa openly and knowingly disobeyed several binding orders of the Madrid High Court of Justice, she said.
Azalina further said that following the annulment of Stampa’s appointment, the Madrid High Court repeatedly ordered Stampa, in writing, to immediately bring an end to the purported arbitration.
“However, Stampa was recalcitrant in disobeying the orders of the court and blatantly undermined the rule of law,” the minister said.
Previously, eight citizens of the Philippines, who claimed to be heirs of the defunct Sulu sultanate, filed for arbitration proceedings in Spain to seek billions of US dollars from Malaysia over Sabah, and a court in Madrid had in March 2019 appointed Stampa to be the arbitrator for the Sulu claimants’ case.
The MADANI Unity Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had aggressively countered the claim by the eight individuals.
Malaysia had secured a decisive victory in the long-running dispute, as a result of favourable rulings by the Court in Luxembourg, the Hague Court of Appeal in the Netherlands, the Paris Court of Appeal in France as well as in the Spanish Court.


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