Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, has come out to claim that Malaysia’s decision to sell his superyacht, the Equanimity, is a vindictive “sham”.
The S$343 million (US$250 million) Equanimity was first seized in the Indonesian holiday island destination of Bali in February at the request of US authorities investigating 1MDB, before being returned to Malaysian authorities who have decided to sell it.
A spokesman for Low said in a statement that issues related to the ownership of this asset could have been handled through proceedings in the United States that have been going on for more than a year, The Star reported on Friday (August 24).
The statement said: “This is nothing more than a sham hearing as part of an unjust and arbitrary legal process subject to the whims of a vindictive regime regarding an asset whose ownership has yet to be determined.”
The statement also claimed that the US government was willing to cover the cost of the Equanimity’s upkeep during pending proceedings in the US.
It added: “Instead, as a publicity stunt, (Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) has unnecessarily put this financial burden on the Malaysian government and, given the illegal manner in which he took the asset, it is unlikely any bid will come close to its fair market value.”
The Kuala Lumpur Admiralty Court is scheduled to hear a suit today by 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which is seeking to expedite the sale of the vessel.
Just a few weeks ago, Low, who is currently a fugitive after Malaysian authorities issued an arrest warrant for him as part of his involvement in the 1MDB scandal, had said that he would not surrender to the Malaysian government as he believes that he will be unable to get a fair hearing.