Approval by a US court was given on Wednesday, October 31, for the sale of a private jet reportedly owned by Low Taek Jho, more familiarly known as Jho Low. The controversial figure linked to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal owns a Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft that is currently in a hangar in Singapore.
The US Department of Justice entered into an agreement with One Aviation Ltd (Global 5000) for the sale of the jet. A formal bidding process will commence immediately, with the process to be held in escrow in the US until the courts determine the lawful rights of the parties involved.
A statement from Global 5000 noted that the agreement was made with the US government’s help in order to make sure that the aircraft does not depreciate in value in the interim while legal claims are pursued, as well as to guard the rights of all parties.
“These rights and protections afforded by the US are all the more important given that the jet is currently located in Singapore. As recently demonstrated by the Malaysian government’s illegal seizure of the yacht Equanimity, the unlawful commandeering of an asset outside sovereign legal proceedings is not only an affront to the rule of law and international comity, but also greatly diminishes the fair market value of the asset.”
Malaysia has also expressed interest in the jet, presently located at the Seletar Airport in Singapore. In spite of Malaysia’s interest, the United States Department of Justice filed an application in court.
Malaysia recently took control of the yacht Equanimity, which belongs to Mr. Low. Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, said that he wanted to repossess the jet as well, and was quoted by Bernama, the state news agency as having said, “Yes, I think so. We have to bring it back,” when asked about the matter.
Singapore has not yet obtained a request from Malaysia for repossession of the aircraft.
According to the police, “Any such request, along with other requests for the return of seized 1MDB-related assets, will be dealt with in accordance with Singapore’s legal framework.”
The auction for Mr. Low’s 300-foot yacht Equanimity began on Monday, October 29. The yacht has been valued at S$345.29 million and was allegedly purchased from embezzled funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd. Bidding for the yacht closes on November 28.
Mr. Low, who claims that he is being tried via media in Malaysia, is currently at large. However, a spokesman for the controversial figure issued statements when Malaysian officials took possession of Jho Low’s yacht.