Yacht Allegedly Bought With Stolen Cash Returned to Malaysia

A lux­u­ry yacht that was alleged­ly pur­chased with mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ed cash from Malaysia’s state-owned invest­ment fund, 1MDB, was returned to the coun­try on Tuesday on per­son­al request of the Malaysian Prime Minister. 

Equanimity, the yacht owned by Malaysian bil­lion­aire Jho Low (CC BY-SA 4.0). It belonged to Malaysian financier Jho Low before Indonesia seized it after the ves­sel found itself at the top of a long for­fei­ture list made by the US Department of Justice con­nect­ed with the alleged embez­zle­ment of US$3.5 bil­lion from 1MDB.

Pictures of the 300-foot, $250 mil­lion worth Equanimity show the ship glid­ing over crys­talline seas near New Zealand and French Polynesia, its pool, sump­tu­ous deck lounge, and heli­pad in full view.

On its web­site, the yacht mak­er describes the vessel’s “spec­tac­u­lar beach club with fold­ing plat­forms giv­ing direct access to the sea, and inclu­sive of a gym­na­si­um, mas­sage room, sauna, steam room, expe­ri­en­tial show­er and plunge pool.”

Reporters weren’t allowed on the ship when it docked in Port Klang Tuesday, so 1MDB lawyer Jeremy Joseph did his best to describe the interior.

Asked if it’s what he’d expect from a $250 mil­lion yacht, Joseph said, “Yes… We can see tim­ber and mar­ble. It’s nice.”

Some of the items con­nect­ed to the 1MDB scan­dal — such as Marlon Brando’s Oscar stat­uette — were already returned to author­i­ties but the for­fei­ture list still includes a Picasso, a pink dia­mond neck­lace, and the rights to a film called “Dumb and Dumber To.” 

Indonesia impound­ed the ship as it sailed to Bali in February, after a tip-off from the FBI. Later, an Indonesian court declared that it had been wrong­ful­ly seized. However, it was kept in port and impound­ed again in July.

Finally, a per­son­al request from Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad secured the ship’s return to Malaysia. Mahathir thanked Indonesian author­i­ties on Facebook  on Monday.

Meanwhile, Jho Low’s legal team in California on Monday filed a motion ask­ing the US gov­ern­ment to reveal its knowl­edge of the trans­fer of the yacht. In a state­ment released Sunday, a lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Jho Low lam­bast­ed the seizure as evi­dence of dete­ri­o­rat­ing rule of law in Malaysia.

BY AISHA DOWN

Yacht Allegedly Bought With Stolen Cash Returned to Malaysia

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