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Source: Finance Twitter

Superyacht Equanimity brought back to Malaysia; 1MDB claims ownership

Equanimity, the US$250 million (S$342 million) superyacht allegedly owned by Low Taek Jho, Malaysian financier on the run and one of the central figures in the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, was brought back to Malaysia on 8 August with the assistance of Indonesian authorities.

According to the press release by the Attorney-General of Malaysia, Mr Tommy Thomas, the vessel had arrived at Pulau Indah, where Port Klang is situated. The vessel docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre at around noon, flanked by four Marine Patrol boats.

Officials from the High Court, Attorney-General's Chambers, Customs Department, and Immigration Department then proceeded to carry out an hour-long inspection of the Equanimity. Special Branch director of Bukit Aman, where the Malaysian Royal Police headquarters is situated, Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador, and Selangor deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdul Wahab were also present during the inspection.

Mr Thomas highlighted that the joint efforts "between Indonesia, the United States, and Malaysia" under the "Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties" have made the capture of the vessel possible, stating that "the seizure was done at the initiative of the Department of Justice (DOJ) [of the United States] ... on behalf of Malaysia and 1MDB".

 

The Attorney-General's Chambers' press release regarding the Equanimity superyacht, dated 7 August.

 

An arrest warrant has been issued against Equanimity today, added the Malaysian Attorney-General.

Previously, a Jakarta court decided in April that the seizure of the yacht was illegal. The vessel was subsequently released to its owners.

However, Indonesian authorities conducted another seizure of Equanimity after a formal request for legal assistance from the US.

This seizure was purportedly made after a personal request by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his visit to the Republic in June.

In response, Dr Mahathir has thanked the Indonesian authorities via a phone call to Indonesian President Mr Joko Widodo for their efforts in returning Equanimity to Malaysian shores:

The Prime Minister's Office press release regarding the Equanimity superyacht, dated 7 August.

 

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on Monday said that the Malaysian Government will be auctioning off Equanimity in a bid to recover as much of the state funds lost to the purchase of the vessel by Jho Low.

Ms Sitpah Selvaratnam, one of the lawyers representing 1MDB, noted that 17 crew members, including a Norwegian captain, were present on board.

Ms Sitpah noted that the lawyers for 1MDB will seek instructions regarding how the yacht and its crew should be handled from this point onwards.

She said that Equanimity "is under the custody of court", and thus the vessel "cannot be moved and cannot conduct any activity without their [the Admiralty Court of the High Court of Malaya's] permission".

The Equanimity, registered in the Cayman Islands, is a 91.5 metres long and 14.6 metres wide.

At 2,999 tonnes, it is classified as a superyacht due to its massive size, according to Malaysiakini.

Built by Oceanco in the Netherlands, the Equanimity boasts an on-deck jacuzzi, a sauna, a helicopter landing pad, a swimming pool, a movie theatre, air conditioning, a steam room and a Turkish bath.

In a press conference after the arrival of the superyacht, one of the lawyers appointed by the AGC, Mr Jeremy Joseph, remarked that “there is a mix of nice timber, marble and leather ... and it looks nice and very classy”.