KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — The Admiralty Court here has selected a nine-figure offer as the successful bid for the Equanimity superyacht that fugitive financier Low Taek Jho allegedly bought with funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
The legal team appointed to handle the transaction said today that this was after the completion of the court process for the auction, which included publicising the yacht’s availability for purchase for one month from Oct 29.
“With the mandatory phase of the judicial sale process duly completed, with the widest outreach and publicity possible in the superyacht market, and to the trading and business community generally, the Sheriff will be seeking the necessary orders from the court to commence the second phase of this judicial sale, by private treaty, for closing of the sale no later than 31 March 2019.
“The nine-digit asking price will be available on application, once approval of the court is obtained, and will commensurate with a 4.5-year-old Oceano-built luxury yacht, with the specifications of the Equanimity, as she lies,” the team said in a statement.
November 28 was the last to register bids for Equanimity.
The yacht, which comes with a Turkish bath, helicopter landing pad and a history of celebrity-studded glitzy parties, went on sale in October as part of the government’s asset recovery measures, after Indonesian authorities returned it to Malaysia in August.
Prospective buyers have to deposit US$1 million (RM4.2 million) for the yacht, according to a report in The Malaysian Insight.
After bidding ends, the sheriff of the High Court of Malaya will open the sealed bids and announce the ship’s new owner at an undisclosed date.
Sitpah Selvaratnam, a shipping lawyer appointed to act for the Attorney-General’s Chambers reportedly told the news portal that only the sheriff knows the number of bids made for the superyacht.
The court sheriff is also in possession of a sealed appraisal note, which holds the court-approved value of the yacht and minimum amount expected for the sale.
The sheriff will pick the highest offer as long as it’s more than the amount set out in the note, and the government may have to consider another option if all the bids are lower.
Penang-born Low is said to have bought the yacht in 2014 for US$250 million, allegedly using 1MDB-linked funds.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said the government wants to dispose of the vessel as soon as possible, due to the high monthly maintenance costs.
Up to October 10 this year, the government has spent RM3.5 million for the upkeep of superyacht Equanimity and its crew, the Finance Ministry disclosed in Parliament on November 21.