A 147m-long superyacht, the world’s seventh-largest yacht in the world, is claimed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to be bought in part by funds traced back to the 1MDB scandal.
The yacht, currently known as “The A+”, holds an estimated value of US$688 million (RM2.96 billion), as said by reports from The Straits Times.
On 30th June, the DOJ made a 208-page filing to a federal court in California detailing the financial particulars under the purchase of the luxury superyacht. But the yacht isn’t the only thing the DOJ is seeking to uncover.
The Department is reportedly looking to seize millions of dollars held in Swiss bank accounts, an apartment in Paris, two Warhol paintings, and a Basquiat drawing as part of the luxury purchases bought with monies linked to 1MDB. However, it was not specified as to whether the DOJ would be staking its claim on the yacht in the process of its asset forfeiture campaign.
Low Taek Jho, known to us Malaysians as Jho Low, already chartered the A+ on at least five different occasions between 2013 and 2014 to locations all around the world, including Nice, Ibiza, the Caribbean, New York and areas surrounding the Brazilian coast. But this filing joins the existing list of Jho’s seized assets, including his own superyacht, Equanimity, and millions of dollars in jewellery and paintings by Van Gogh and Monet.
This isn’t the first time the DOJ has helped Malaysia recover assets. In fact, the Department has helped the nation retrieve more than US$1 billion (RM 4.27 billion) in assets related to the 1MDB scandal.
However, DOJ’s disclosure also formally links the 1MDB scandal to a top United Arab Emirates official from the purchase of the A+, formerly known as the Topaz. Oceanus Maritime Ltd took possession of the A+ in August 2012 and paid US$688 million (RM2.93 billion) for it. Further investigation revealed that Oceanus Maritime is beneficially owned by an undisclosed UAE public official in a senior leadership role in IPIC.
The owner of the A+ is also speculated to be Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nayan, Abu Dhabi royalty and deputy prime minister of UAE, says reports from the Edge Markets. The minister, who also owns the famous football club, Manchester City, was a chairman of IPIC during the timeline in which dealings with 1MDB surfaced.
How many more assets will the DOJ find under the 1MDB scandal? Stay tuned to find out.
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