KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Damansara MP Tony Pua today urged the government to file an international suit to seize the Topaz and ensure that the proportionate part of the proceeds from the disposal is repatriated to Malaysia.
Earlier this month, the US Justice Department (DoJ) revealed that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds were used in the purchase of the world’s seventh largest yacht named the Topaz which cost approximately US$688 million (RM2.9 billion).
“The Topaz, now renamed A+, was funded with a €400 million loan from Deutsche Bank. The DOJ revealed that A+ is owned by Oceanus Maritime, a company domiciled in the Isle of Man. The company is in turn beneficially owned by a UAE public official in a senior leadership role within the International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) of Abu Dhabi.
“The loan was subsequently repaid in tranches, through money that was misappropriated from 1MDB amounting to approximately US$160,930,752 (RM687 million),” Pua said.
He added that the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has cultivated a strong relationship with the DoJ, which has resulted in US$496 million (RM2.1 billion) of seized assets repatriated in cash to Malaysia.
“This does not include the assistance provided by the DoJ in the seizure of another yacht, the Equanimity which was subsequently auctioned for US$126 million (RM538 million).
“We are hence confident that any proceeds arising from the seizure of the new claims above will in time be repatriated to Malaysia.
“However, despite the revelation that laundered 1MDB funds contributed towards the acquisition of A+, no claims on the A+ has been made to date,” he said.
Pua urged the government to immediately file an international suit against the Oceanus Maritime to demand the return of the misappropriated US$160.9 million and additional compensation.
“Should Oceanus Maritime fail to do so, we must demand seizure of A+ as we did the Equanimity and carry out an international auction of the luxury mega-yacht.
“The proceeds from all these seizures and repatriation must be allocated towards the repayment of 1MDB debts of which more than RM32 billion remains outstanding,” Pua said.
On June 30th, the DoJ made a 208-page filing to a federal court in California detailing the financial particulars under the purchase of the luxury superyacht.
The Department is reportedly looking to seize millions of dollars held in Swiss bank accounts, an apartment in Paris, two Warhol paintings, and a Basquiat drawing as part of the luxury purchases bought with monies linked to 1MDB.
However, it was not specified as to whether the DoJ would be staking its claim on the yacht in the process of its asset forfeiture campaign.