Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Luxury yacht at centre of graft probe handed to Malaysia

Luxury yacht at centre of graft probe handed to Malaysia

The $250 million Equanimity, seized by Indonesia off Bali in February in cooperation with the U.S. FBI, was handed over to Malaysian authorities on Monday at the Indonesian island of Batam near Singapore.

"At the end of the day, the yacht must be sold off" so that Malaysia can recover as much money as possible from it, Lim said.

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

Malaysian and worldwide authorities want to question Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who the Justice Department alleges was a key figure in the theft and global laundering of $4.5 billion from 1MDB.

Najib, his cronies and family members are accused of stealing huge sums from 1MDB in a sophisticated fraud that spanned the globe.

Najib said the KSCIP was the brainchild of Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and that the Malaysian government when he was Prime Minister welcomed the setting up of the centre as it was deemed to be good for both countries.

The ex-prime minister was arrested and charged with corruption last month.

"The seizure was done at the initiative of the DOJ, which asserted ownership of the yacht on behalf of Malaysia and 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) because monies belonging to us were used to purchase it", he said.

Malaysian authorities are seeking to arrest Low Taek Jho, the financier who allegedly bought the Equanimity, a 91 meter (300-foot) yacht registered in the Cayman Islands.

Najib set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts.

"The charges are related to the SRC International case", it said in a statement.

A luxury yacht allegedly bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund arrived Tuesday at a Malaysian port. Following the handover of the yacht to Malaysia, the Justice Department has sought to suspend legal proceedings to determine what Malaysia plans to do with the vessel.

"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.

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