Petaling Jaya—Equanimity, the luxury superyacht that belonged to the fugitive financier at the heart of the 1MDB scandal, Low Taek Jho, has been sold for US$126 million (S$170.6 million, RM514 million) to Genting Malaysia Bhd.
Malaysia’s Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, announced this in a statement on Wednesday morning (April 3). “The Government of Malaysia is pleased to announce that the Superyacht Equanimity is to be sold to Genting Malaysia Bhd or its special purpose vehicle (SPV) company at the price of US$126 million.
This will rank as the highest recovery to date for the Government of Malaysia from the 1MDB scandal; within a mere eight months from the commencement of this action.”
Malaysia’s Admiralty Court approved that the offer from Genting to purchase the Equanimity be accepted based on the Sheriff’s Terms and Conditions.
Genting will be paying for the yacht by the end of this month.
The company made the best offer on the yacht in the five months that it has been on the market since October 2018, although it is somewhat lower than the market price evaluation made by Winterbothams at US$130 million.
Other offers had actually come in for the purchase of the yacht, with some even over the US$100 million mark.
Genting made the purchase directly from the government, without a broker. Therefore, there is no agency commission for the sale, which means savings for the Malaysian government of around US$4.4 million (S$6 million, RM18 million)
The Malaysian government seized Low Taek Jho’s superyacht in August 2018 and put it on sale shortly afterward as part of the effort to recover some funds stolen by Low and his cohorts from the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Mr Low reportedly paid US$250 million (S$ 344 million) for the superyacht.
No ordinary yacht, the Equanimity may well be considered an object that is at the height of luxury. It can accommodate 22 passengers, as well as the 31 crew members serving those guests. It is a 300 foot (91.5-meter) vessel with more than 10 cabins and a whole host of other wellness amenities, including a spa, a circular swimming pool on the top deck, a sauna and a gym; as well as its own art gallery, movie theatre, and yes, a helipad to boot.
Malaysia has been eager to sell the yacht, as the government is spending almost US $500,000 (S$ 677,000) for its monthly maintenance costs.
As of last November, Malaysians had paid RM3.5 million (S$1,147,000) for the upkeep, legal fees, port services and staffing of the Equanimity in the few months since it was seized by the government, which took Low’s yacht in August.
In October, the High Court of Malaya decreed that the yacht is the possession of 1MDB and the government of Malaysia since it was unclaimed by its registered owner. Bidding for the sale of the yacht has begun, with interested parties being required to put down a US$1 million deposit.
When the Government of Malaysia seized the yacht last year, Mr Low issued a statement on what it called its “illegal seizure.”
“STATEMENT REGARDING THE MALAYSIAN AND INDONESIAN GOVERNMENTS’ ILLEGAL SEIZURE OF THE YACHT EQUANIMITY – 04 AUGUST 2018
Equanimity is owned by Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. That company is already litigating this matter in Indonesia and the United States. But given the fact that Mr Low will be inevitably drawn into the media coverage over this illegal seizure by the Malaysian government, he issues the following statement through his lawyers:
The action of the Mahathir government in illegitimately taking this asset shows just how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime. It is a violation of an Indonesian law and court decision by a politically motivated Malaysian government bent on advancing its own political agenda with little regard to existing court rulings or basic legal rights.
As he did in Malaysia’s 1988 judicial crisis, Mahathir is showing the world that his new regime still has no interest in the rule of law.”