M/Y Equanimity to be returned to owner
Malaysian financier Jho Low’s 92-meter superyacht will be returned to its owner after an Indonesian court ruled that the U.S Department of Justice’s seizure in February was deemed illegal.
Indonesia’s South Jakarta State Court claimed that the yacht was not related to 1MDB corruption scandal. Rudy Heriyanto Adi, director of Indonesia’s Special Economic Crimes Unit, told journalists during a news conference that the seizure was “illegal and not based on the law” – Reuters reported.
In 2016, the United States Department of Justice began investigating corruption allegations that Indonesia’s strategic-development firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had been misusing funds. A total of $4.5 billion was supposedly misappropriated by some of its high-level officials – according to the DoJ’s filings.
The investigation gained new headway after suspicions surfaced that one of the firm’s consultants, Mr Low, was suspected to be in negotiations with a Republican fundraiser close to President Donald Trump to call off the investigation.
Mr Low was alleged to have spent $250 million of the company’s funds on the Oceanco custom yacht. The Oceanco yacht was arrested and impounded in February, all 34 of the yacht’s crew members were on board when the yacht was arrested.
Equanimity is owned by a Cayman-based company Equanimity Cayman Limited. The company challenged both the Indonesian and the U.S. courts actions during the seizure, claiming that both authorities “acted outside the bounds of legal rules in their respective nations” – the company said in a statement.
When the ruling is finalised, the yacht will be returned to the owner company.
The US prosecutors are planning to return to Los Angeles to renew action to seize the yacht – The Asia Sentinel reported.