The moment of truth has come!
The Equanimity has officially arrived at the Boustead Cruise Centre in Port Klang months after it was seized by international authorities!
According to the New Straits Times, the Malaysian government plans to sell the luxury yacht after all the relevant paperwork is completed. Meanwhile, the yacht could also be open for public viewing. The daily quoted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as saying,
“We hope the public can view it. Probably not the entire ship, at least a portion of it.”
“It will be under the custody of the government of Malaysia. The ministry’s concern is to get the best value for the ship. If we leave it (just like that), every day you’ve got to pay maintenance costs and you’ll get to see the asset deteriorate, diminish and depreciate.”
Finance minister Lim Guan Eng said that the public should get a chance to view the super yacht Equanimity , even if not the entire yacht , at least a portion of it . The government wants to recover as much as possible from the yacht . pic.twitter.com/RAstZYrwt7
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) August 6, 2018
According to Malaysiakini, the Finance Minister also went on to say that the government intends to sell the yacht to the highest bidder to get something back for the country to use. He stated,
“As the Finance Ministry, we want to get the best value. So after it has been viewed, the yacht must be sold so the people of the country can get something. I don’t know how much (money) we can crawl back but we should try to get as much as possible.”
To catch you up to speed, the Malaysian businessman highly suspected to be linked to the 1MDB scandal, Low Taek Jho (aka Jho Low), had allegedly diverted more than USD$250 million (approx RM1 billion) in 1MDB funds to buy a 300-foot mega-yacht named the Equanimity.
According to The Edge Markets, the Equanimity can carry up to 56 people (26 guests and 30 crew members), and even won “Best in Show” at the Monaco Yacht Schow in 2014.
The yacht even has its own helicopter landing pad, gym, cinema, massage room, sauna, steam room, experiential shower, and plunge pool.
The Equanimity was impounded by Indonesian authorities earlier in February 2018 under the request of the United States authorities as part of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) investigations. However, the Indonesian court then declared that the yacht should be returned to Malaysia in April, but ended up seizing it again in July after the United States made a formal request.
Then, in recent developments, the Indonesian authorities decided to return the yacht to Malaysia. According to Reuters, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had allegedly requested the Indonesian authorities to return the Equanimity.
When news of the mega-yacht finally being sent over to Malaysia surfaced, Tun Dr Mahathir posted a video of him thanking the Indonesian authorities for their cooperation.
Saya mengucapkan terima kasih kepada pihak berkuasa Indonesia kerana bekerjasama dalam mengembalikan kapal layar Equanimity kepada Kerajaan Malaysia.https://t.co/EcFguHqV6Q
— Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) August 6, 2018
He was quoted in the video as saying,
“If the party who owns this yacht wants to come forward, they can provide proof showing that they indeed own it.”
“We want to know where they got the large sum of money to buy the yacht in the first place. If they can prove that the money is theirs and not stolen funds, then we will return it to them. However, according to the US DoJ’s investigations, they believe that this yacht was bought using 1MDB funds.”
“I am very thankful to the Indonesian government, especially to President Jokowi (Joko Widodo), for their cooperation.”
In another turn of events, Jho Low’s legal team claimed the Equanimity’s seizure was illegal and has just filed a legal petition, stating that the rule of law was not followed.
Jho Low’s lawyer, James F. Haggerty, was quoted by The Star as saying,
“The action of the Mahathir government in illegitimately taking this asset shows just how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime.”
“It is a violation of an Indonesian law and court decision by a politically motivated Malaysian government bent on advancing its own political agenda with little regard to existing court rulings or basic legal rights.”
Jho Low’s legal team filed pre trial petition on Aug 6 to challenge lawfulness of the warrant & subsequent seizure . Due process under Malaysia’s law on MLA was not followed. They are also seeking US court to direct US govt to provide status report by Aug 17 on new development
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) August 7, 2018
What do you think about the Equanimity’s seizure? Would you take a look at the yacht if it is indeed open for public viewing? Let us know in the comments below!
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