Luxury yacht linked to 1MDB scandal arrives in Malaysia

Leroy Wright
August 7, 2018

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad thanked Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in a video posted on his Facebook page, for facilitating the yacht's handover.

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.

1MDB is being investigated by at least six countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, over alleged money laundering and graft.

In August 2017, the DOJ asked for a stay on its civil lawsuits seeking to seize more than US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB funds because it was conducting a related criminal probe.

THE US$250mil superyacht at the centre of Malaysia's multi-billion dollar state fund scandal is reportedly headed to the country following Indonesia's decision to hand over the vessel to the neighbouring government.

As a result of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties ("MLAs") between Indonesia, the U.S. and Malaysia which were activated recently, sensitive and delicate negotiations were conducted at the highest levels of different agencies in the three countries to accomplish this feat.

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"1MDB claims ownership to this they believe that their money was misappropriated and used to purchase the vessel", said Sitpah Selvaratnam, a lawyer representing 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".

"The vessel would be docked in Batam, waiting for further instructions from Jakarta on when it would be handed over to the Malaysian authorities", the source said.

Chambers has invoked the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya at Kuala Lumpur against the yacht, and on 6th August 2018, the Court issued a Warrant of Arrest against it.

Low's whereabouts are unknown but he has previously denied wrongdoing.

Earlier on Tuesday, claimants to the ownership of the Equanimity filed a petition in a USA court contesting the handover of the vessel to Malaysia calling it an "unlawful and extrajudicial" seizure.

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak is expected to give his statement at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA), Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim here at 5 pm. He immediately launched an investigation into 1MDB, which had been founded by Najib.

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