Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia to take custody of 1MDB-linked yacht




Malaysia to take custody of 1MDB-linked yacht

Malaysia to take custody of 1MDB-linked yacht

Malaysia is making “some arrangement” with Indonesia to take ownership of a luxury yacht linked to a multibillion dollar financial scandal, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

The Cayman Islands-registered Equanimity, believed to be worth some $250 million, was seized in February off the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

The US Department of Justice alleges in civil lawsuits that huge sums of money were stolen from Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund – set up by former Prime Minister Najib Razak – in a huge fraud and money-laundering scam.

The fund and Najib, who lost an election earlier this year, deny any wrongdoing. The suits allege $1.7 billion worth of assets were allegedly bought with the stolen funds, which US officials are seeking to recover.

Those assets include a 300 foot long (90 metre) luxury yacht bought by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to 1MDB.

“Some arrangements are being made with the Indonesian authorities responsible [to take over the yacht],” a spokesman for Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s office said on Sunday.

“We will announce more once we have finalised the details,” he added, declining to elaborate further on the arrangement.

A senior maritime official familiar with the talks said the super yacht was in Indonesian waters off Batam near Singapore. Bilateral ties between Malaysia and Indonesia are close with Mahathir visiting Jakarta in June, making it his first official tour of the region after a stunning election victory in May over Najib.

Malaysia’s anti-corruption authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Jho Low, accused of being a key figure in the scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

‘Rule of law disappears’

Low, a flamboyant playboy known for partying with Hollywood A-listers, is a close associate of Najib and allegedly conspired with him to loot the investment vehicle.

He was believed to have been sailing around Asia on the luxury yacht before it was seized.

Low – full name Low Taek Jho – whose exact whereabouts are unknown, condemned Malaysia’s action to take over the yacht saying it was “politically motivated”.

“The action of the Mahathir government in illegitimately taking this asset shows just how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime,” according to a statement issued by his legal team.

“Actions like this make it increasingly clear that there is no jurisdiction where the issues in this case can be subject to a fair hearing thanks to a global media circus fuelled by politically motivated parties whose aim is to convict Mr Low in public arena.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,