Luxury yacht linked to 1MDB scandal arrives in Malaysia

  • Luxury yacht linked to 1MDB scandal arrives in Malaysia

Luxury yacht linked to 1MDB scandal arrives in Malaysia

The 300-foot (90-meter) Equanimity, equipped with pool, helicopter landing pad and cinema, belonged to Jho Low, a flamboyant global financier who allegedly played a central role in the 1MDB controversy that has engulfed former prime minister Najib Razak.

The DoJ has sought to take custody of the Equanimity, after it was seized by Indonesia in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB. Cynthia Gabriel, a member of an official team set up to recover assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money, said that the Equanimity being handed over to Malaysia was "very significant". USA investigators said Low, known widely as Jho Low, bought the yacht with proceeds diverted from 1MDB. Low has urged the court to direct the US government to state efforts it has made to secure the vessel and to find out Malaysia's intentions by Aug 17. Malaysia's attorney-general welcomed the boat being turned over, and said that "sensitive and delicate negotiations" had taken place between Malaysia, Indonesia and the U.S. to ensure it happened.

"If they can prove that the money [used to buy Equanimity] came from themselves and not from stolen money, then they have the right to claim back the yacht", Dr Mahathir said in a two-and-a-half-minute video posted on his Facebook page from Fukuoka, Japan yesterday.

Thomas said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) had invoked the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur against the superyacht.

Thomas said the transfer of the yacht to Malaysia was accomplished through sensitive and delicate negotiations under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAs) between Indonesia, the United States and Malaysia.

The Malaysian authorities have revoked his passport and issued an arrest warrant although he has previously denied any wrongdoing.

"That is why we are calling him again today (Aug 7) to record his statement for tomorrow's proceedings", a source told The Star. It was built in 2014 by the Dutch yacht manufacturer Oceano, which received detailed instructions from Low about its outfitting, according to the Justice Department's asset recovery case.