Malaysia auctions off 1MDB-linked superyacht

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Malaysia’s government has launched a one-month auction for luxury yacht Equanimity which has allegedly been bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The sales process began on October 29 and came nearly three months after Indonesia returned the $250 million yacht after seizing it off Bali in February in cooperation with the FBI. The US Justice Department, one of several foreign agencies investigating a massive graft scandal at the 1MDB fund, had listed the yacht among the assets that could be seized and sold to recover stolen funds.

The auction is being handled by London-based yacht brokerage firm Nigel Burgess Ltd. where interested buyers can study all specifications of the vessel and place their bids.

Ong Chee Kwan, a lawyer for 1MDB, said the government has opened bids for the yacht following a lengthy court process. Once the auction ends on November 28, the government could make a decision on the sale within a week.

Kwan, however, couldn’t provide an estimate on the amount Malaysia expects to raise from it, only “as high as possible.”

The yacht is among more than $1.7 billion in assets that the US claims were acquired by Malaysian “financier” Jho Low and his accomplices with money they allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.

A Malaysian court approved in August an application by the government and 1MDB to dispose of the boat that they said was costing “substantial and escalating expenses” to maintain. However, Equanimity Cayman Ltd., the company that owns the yacht, said before the court decision that to move for a sale in Malaysia immediately would be a violation of due process and international legal comity and would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any buyer.

Auctioneer Burgess, in turn, said that a buyer would be provided with an internationally recognised ownership title in accordance with admiralty law.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s government has launched a one-month auction for luxury yacht Equanimity which has allegedly been bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysia’s government has launched a one-month auction for luxury yacht Equanimity which has allegedly been bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The sales process began on October 29 and came nearly three months after Indonesia returned the $250 million yacht after seizing it off Bali in February in cooperation with the FBI. The US Justice Department, one of several foreign agencies investigating a massive graft scandal at the 1MDB fund, had listed the yacht among the assets that could be seized and sold to recover stolen funds.

The auction is being handled by London-based yacht brokerage firm Nigel Burgess Ltd. where interested buyers can study all specifications of the vessel and place their bids.

Ong Chee Kwan, a lawyer for 1MDB, said the government has opened bids for the yacht following a lengthy court process. Once the auction ends on November 28, the government could make a decision on the sale within a week.

Kwan, however, couldn’t provide an estimate on the amount Malaysia expects to raise from it, only “as high as possible.”

The yacht is among more than $1.7 billion in assets that the US claims were acquired by Malaysian “financier” Jho Low and his accomplices with money they allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.

A Malaysian court approved in August an application by the government and 1MDB to dispose of the boat that they said was costing “substantial and escalating expenses” to maintain. However, Equanimity Cayman Ltd., the company that owns the yacht, said before the court decision that to move for a sale in Malaysia immediately would be a violation of due process and international legal comity and would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any buyer.

Auctioneer Burgess, in turn, said that a buyer would be provided with an internationally recognised ownership title in accordance with admiralty law.

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