Jho Low’s luxury superyacht, supposedly bought with stolen 1MDB funds, has been appraised at nearly half of the original price for which he bought it. However, there have been no firm buyers for the vessel, and maintaining the yacht is costing Malaysia a lot of money every month.
The Malaysian government seized Low Taek Jho’s superyacht Equanimity in August 2018 and put it on sale shortly afterwards as part of the effort to recover some funds stolen by Low and his cohorts from the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Low, the fugitive businessman at the heart of the scandal, reportedly paid US $250 million (S$ 344 million) for it. The Equanimity is now on sale for its appraised value of US $130 million (S$ 176 million), with still no firm buyer in sight.
No ordinary yacht, the Equanimity may well be considered an object 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.
The sale of the yacht is being brokered by Burgess, a firm specializing in such items, and which only sells between one and two luxury yachts per year, each of which can take between 1 to 2 years to finalize.
Though Burgess has said there are as many as 20 buyers for the Equanimity, the yacht proves to be difficult to sell, even if there are very few yachts of this size in the market at present. An auction in November 2018 did not produce a sure buyer.
Potential owners of the Equanimity felt that it was too far to travel to Kuala Lumpur to see the vessel since they are used to looking at yachts in European ports.
But there are still interested parties coming from the Russia and the Middle East, and even some in Asia. Rupert Nelson, the lead broker for the sale, told Bloomberg, “Some of them are big household names in yachting terms. Some will be household names elsewhere as well.”
Malaysia is clearly eager to sell the yacht, as the government is spending almost US $500,000 (S$ 677,000) for its monthly maintenance costs. As of October 10 last year, Malaysian taxpayers have already shelled out S$ 1.15 million for the yacht’s maintenance.