Jho Low tries to spin DoJ forfeiture dismissal as positive

The Equanimity superyacht will now be auctioned off at a US$130 million reserve. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
The Equanimity superyacht will now be auctioned off at a US$130 million reserve. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho sought today to portray the US Justice Department’s (DoJ) intention to dismiss its forfeiture action on the Equanimity superyacht as a favourable outcome.

In a statement issued via his lawyers and sent through an Australian publicist, Low or Jho Low asserted that the move in the US legal system was a result of the Malaysian government’s mishandling of the seized yacht.

“The DOJ, with the consent of Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd, have agreed to seek dismissal of this action.

“While it is not a perfect outcome, it is reasonable and understandable, given the brazenness of the Mahathir Government in illegitimately seizing the yacht from Indonesia, in a blatant violation of Indonesian law and with no regard for a US court order designed to ensure all parties were afforded their full rights under law,” Low said in the statement.

The DoJ previously moved to suspend proceedings in the US related to the seizure after Equanimity was confiscated by Indonesia — pursuant to a request by the US — and subsequently handed over to Malaysia.

Malaysia then conducted legal proceedings that determined state investment firm 1MDB to be the rightful owner of the vessel and allowed it to be auctioned off in order to recoup the  allegedly stolen funds that were used to procure Equanimity.

The superyacht that was valued at US$250 million (RM1.03 billion) when new will now be auctioned off at a US$130 million reserve.

Today, Low again repeated his assertion that the inability to secure the price of the Equanimity when it had been new was a result of improper treatment by the Malaysian government.

The fugitive financier also repeated his innocence of charges filed against him over the 1MDB corruption scandal that has spanned the globe.

Low was charged in absentia here last year with money laundering and financial fraud related to Goldman Sachs’ bond issues for 1MDB.