Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, more commonly known as Jho Low, is currently at large due to charges leveled against him both at home and abroad, but taxpayers from his country are still footing the bill for his yacht, Equanimity, which has been seized by the government.
So far, 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. And the costs are still mounting.
Lim Guan Eng, Malaysia’s Finance Minister, revealed this in parliament on November 21, Wednesday. He also said that these fees do not include costs racked up starting from October 10 and that the Malaysian government is hoping the Equanimity will be sold before the end of the year.
The yacht, which costs US $ 250 million (S$ 343 million), contains a spa, cinema, gym, and a steam room, among other luxury features, was reported to have been bought from funds from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Low is the central figure in the 1MDB scandal and is said to have also bought jewelry, art, and luxury properties with stolen funds.
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.
Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, said that the Equanimity has been moved to Langkawi to keep it in a good state. He has also hinted that he believes Low may be hiding in China, while rummest abound that he has been sighted in Bangsar, a posh suburb in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.