Former 1MDB official criticises Malaysian government over superyacht ‘Equanimity’ sale
Former official Jho Low, who is wanted by Malaysian authorities for alleged fraud has released a statement attacking the government’s sale of superyacht Equanimity.
The communication issued by Wells Haslem Mayhew Strategic Public Affairs (Australia) was published on Low’s private blog on New Year’s Day.
Low claims that a US court has granted the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to dismiss its forfeiture action against the yacht.
Directly criticising the government of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Low stated: “While it is not a perfect outcome, it is reasonable and understandable, given the brazenness of the Mahathir Government in illegitimately seizing the yacht from Indonesia, in a blatant violation of Indonesian law and with no regard for a US court order designed to ensure all parties were afforded their full rights under law.
“Indeed, by illegally seizing the Equanimity, where the DOJ had been willing to cover the substantial cost of the vessel’s upkeep, docking it in a hazardous environment at Port Klang, and then subjecting the vessel to poorly-controlled media and public access, the Malaysian Government is solely responsible for substantially eroding the yacht’s value.”
In December last year lawyers representing 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) announced that a sealed bidding auction for Equanimity had failed to reach a reserve price and would move to a second phase. A guide price has now been set for, reportedly, $130 million dollars.
Commenting on the auction through his statement Low said: “Not surprisingly, the hapless Mahathir regime, in a disastrous PR stunt, failed to sell the vessel at fair market value at auction.”
Low is alleged to have fraudulently used 1MDB investment fund’s money to indulge in an “exuberant” lifestyle. He denies the charges and has claimed that the “US court has made no negative findings or rulings against him.”