Malaysia to sell yacht at center of 1MDB scandal for $126M

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2018, file photo, the luxury yacht Equanimity is seen in the Benoa harbor in Bali, Indonesia. Malaysia’s government says a luxury yacht allegedly bought with money stolen from the multibillion-dollar looting of a state investment fund will be sold to casino operator Genting Berhad for $126 million, half its original price. Attorney-General Tommy Thomas says the Admiralty Court on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, approved the sale of the Equanimity, which has lavish amenities including a helicopter landing pad, plunge pool, gymnasium and a cinema.(AP Photo/Ambros Boli Berani, File)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia's government said Wednesday that a luxury yacht allegedly bought with money stolen from a troubled state investment fund will be sold to casino operator Genting Berhad for $126 million, half its original price.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the Admiralty Court on Wednesday approved the sale of the Equanimity, which has lavish amenities including a helicopter landing pad, plunge pool, gymnasium and a cinema. Genting will pay up by end of April, making it the "highest recovery to date" for the government from the scandal, he said in a statement.

U.S. investigators say the $250 million yacht was bought with funds diverted from the 1MDB fund by fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, believed to be a key figure in the theft and international laundering of $4.5 billion from 1MDB.

The yacht was seized by Indonesian authorities off Bali island last year in cooperation with the FBI and subsequently handed back to Malaysia. The U.S. Justice Department, one of several foreign agencies investigating the 1MDB scandal, had listed the yacht among the assets it could seize and sell to recover stolen funds.

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak set up 1MDB when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts. The 1MDB fiasco led to Najib's shocking electoral defeat last May and ushered in the country's first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib and his wife have been charged with multiple counts of corruption and money laundering and both have pleaded not guilty. Najib's first corruption trial began later Wednesday.

Thomas said the Genting offer was the highest since the government opened bids for the 300-foot (91 1/2-meter) yacht in November. Although the estimated market value was $130 million, he said there was a saving of $4.4 million in agency commission as the sale was negotiated directly with the government.

"This judicial sale at $126 million is historic by any measure. It records a high-water mark for our judicial system in ensuring that market value is secured for a vessel sold through the processes of court without any discount," Thomas said.

In a statement issued through his U.S. lawyers, Low — who remains at large — slammed the "fire sale" and said the proceeds have been further eroded by upkeep on the vessel.

The Equanimity was built in 2014 by the Dutch yacht manufacturer Oceano, which received detailed instructions from Low about its outfitting, according to the Justice Department's asset recovery case.

The new government has said that corruption by Najib's administration caused national debt to pile up and that the yacht was being sold to recover as much money as possible.

Must Read

Malaysia fire blocks lone exit to Islamic dormitory; 23 dead

Sep 14, 2017

A fire that blocked the only exit to an Islamic school dormitory has killed 23 people who were...

The Latest: Official: Malaysia fire victims were to move out

Sep 14, 2017

Malaysian Islamic school principal says dormitory razed by fire was a temporary boarding house...

Malaysia OKs new search by private company for missing plane

Jan 7, 2018

Malaysia's government has approved a new attempt by a private company to find the wreckage of...

Danish citizen jailed under new Malaysian anti-fake news law

Apr 30, 2018

A Malaysian court has sentenced a Danish citizen to a week in jail after he pleaded guilty to...

Opposition election win in Malaysia ups economic uncertainty

May 10, 2018

Opposition election victory in Malaysia raises economic uncertainty, despite Mahathir's strong...

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH

About Us

In Malaysia Corner, we’re here to bring back those days where you can still catch up with everyday news no matter which corner you are at.

Contact us: sales[at]malaysiacorner.com