Kuala Lumpur—Fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, more popularly known as Jho Low, was once the proud owner of a luxury superyacht called Equanimity. Seized by the Malaysian government last August and sold for S$170 million (US$126 million) earlier this month, the super yacht has been rechristened Tranquility and is currently docked in Singapore.
Marine Traffic, a global ship-tracking site, shows that the vessel’s automatic identification system (AIS) reported the ship’s name to now be Tranquility and said it is docked in Singapore, with the status: moored.
The new owner of the vessel, Genting Malaysia, runs establishments for hospitality and leisure, which include hotels seaside resorts, theme parks, and gaming firms in Langkawi and Terengganu.
Genting Malaysia is under the Genting Group, which has casinos in Singapore, the United States, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. The Genting Group also possesses a shipyard for building superyachts and runs a luxury yacht chartering division.
Genting Malaysia bought the Equanimity on April 3, with the hope of rising above its competitors in attracting premium clients.
The company said, “The acquisition of the Equanimity forms part of our strategy to differentiate ourselves from our regional competitors by providing us with a unique and competitive edge for our VIP customers. We are in the midst of finalising a business model to allow us to use the Equanimity to grow our premium player business,” as reported by Malaysiakini.
Malaysia’s Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, announced the sale on the morning of 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.
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.
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 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 was eager to sell the yacht, as the government had spent almost US $500,000 (S$ 677,000) for its monthly maintenance costs. As of last November, Malaysians have 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.
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.”/TISG