Malaysian government hits back at claims by former official over superyacht ‘Equanimity’
The Malaysian government has wasted little time in rebutting criticism to a statement released on an untraceable private blog by fugitive and former official Jho Low.
In his New Year’s blog Low claimed that a US court had granted the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) motion to dismiss its forfeiture action against superyacht Equanimity that had been seized and offered for sale by Kuala Lumpur as a means of recovering monies allegedly misappropriated by the fugitive Low.
Low used this US decision to criticise the Malaysian government’s handling of the selling the yacht and as further evidence of his innocence in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
However, lawyers representing the government of Malaysia have today dismissed Low’s claims and offered a strict interpretation.
“DOJ’s withdrawal of the forfeiture action confirms there is no competing claim to the Equanimity.
“By the withdrawal of that forfeiture action by the DOJ on 21 December 2018, there is now no claim to the Equanimity by either DOJ, or Equanimity Cayman, or Jho Low.
“DOJ’s withdrawal of the forfeiture action acknowledges the finality of the declaration of ownership of the Equanimity by the Malaysian Admiralty Court. In legal terms, Equanimity Cayman and Jho Low have no right to the Equanimity.
“Any public assertion of ownership of the Equanimity by the fugitive Jho Low has therefore no value and should be ignored.”
The superyacht is currently for sale with a guide price of $130 million after an acceptable offer was not made during a sealed bid auction in November last year.
The legal team’s statement reiterated today that: “The judicial sale of the Equanimity by the Malaysian Admiralty Court by law gives clean and clear title to the purchaser and is recognised in admiralty jurisdictions around the world.”
The location of Jho Low is currently unknown. He is being hunted by the Malaysian government on allegations of fraud and money laundering but shows no signs of disclosing his whereabouts.