Equanimity auction closes today

A seized luxury yacht sought by the US Department of Justice as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation is seen off the shore of Banoa, Bali February 28, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. — Reuters pic
A seized luxury yacht sought by the US Department of Justice as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation is seen off the shore of Banoa, Bali February 28, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — Today is the last day bids will be accepted for the superyacht Equanimity, allegedly bought with 1MDB money by the fugitive financier popularly known as Jho Low.

The yacht, which comes with a Turkish bath, helicopter landing pad and a history of celebrity-studded glitzy parties, went on sale last month as part of the government’s asset recovery measures, after Indonesian authorities returned it to Malaysia in August.

“Tomorrow marks the last auction day,” Sitpah Selvaratnam, a shipping lawyer appointed to act for the Attorney-General’s Chambers told The Malaysian Insight yesterday.

Prospective buyers have to deposit US$1 million (RM4.2 million) for the yacht, according to the report.

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 was reported saying 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.

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