Prime Minister confirmed Equinimity bought by 1MDB funds

(11-08-2018)

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has arrived at the Boustead Cruise Centre here to inspect the Equanimity. He has boarded the RM1billion superyacht Equanimity, which is involved in the 1MDB scandal. He arrived at the Port Klang jetty where the yacht is docked at around 11.40am, and was promptly escorted to the docking bay. Also present were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong, Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Jen Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

An entourage of 13 people were allowed onto the yacht, including Mahathir, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Defence Deputy Minister Liew Chin Tong, after obtaining the court’s permission yesterday. The tour took around an hour, after which they would give a briefing to the press. The superyacht linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal was originally seized by Indonesian authorities in Bali on Feb 28 on the application of the US Department of Justice (DOJ). The yacht has since been the subject of a legal battle between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and and the yacht’s registered owner Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. The firm is allegedly owned by Penang-born financier Low Taek Jho through intermediaries. The DOJ seized the yacht and asserted ownership of it on behalf of Malaysia and 1MDB because money belonging to the country was used to purchase it.

The US DOJ’s suit to seize the yacht is one of 30 civil forfeiture suits the agency has filed to seize properties allegedly bought through funds misappropriated from 1MDB, which had been channelled through the US financial system. Indonesian authorities handed over the vessel to Malaysian marine police off Batam island on Monday (Aug 6). The Equanimity arrived in Port Klang the following day where it was docked at the Cruise Centre. On Monday, the DOJ in a filing to the California Central District Court proposed a suspension of all proceedings in the department’s legal actions regarding the vessel. This was to allow the US government and any interested claimant the opportunity to inquire of Malaysia through formal channels what its intentions are with respect to the yacht. The Prime Minister and the other officials are expected to be briefed here on the Equanimity and its seizure before boarding the superyacht for an inspection. The media have been told that they will not be allowed to board the vessel.

US authorities have confirmed that superyacht Equanimity was purchased by Taek Jho Low using funds stolen from 1MDB, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today. “They have identified this boat as being bought with stolen money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and it belonged to Jho Low. They have documents on this and said if we wanted to keep it, we are entitled to it because it was bought with our stolen money,” the Prime Minister said after visiting the Equanimity in Pulau Indah. Dr Mahathir added that the seizure of the Equanimity did not violate any ongoing investigations by the United States authorities.

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