Malaysian Court prepares to auction off Equanimity 'by end of the year'
by Miranda Blazeby
The seized 91.5 metre superyacht Equanimity could be auctioned off by the end of the year after a Malaysian court approved the appointment of Burgess as the central agent.
According to reports, judicial commissioner Khadijah Idris made the order on October 5 after lawyers representing the government's state investment fund 1DMB made submissions to the court.
Sitpah Selvaratnam, a lawyer representing the fund, told Malaysia's The Star Online, "The appraiser will evaluate the fair value of the vessel, while a central broker will be tidying up the advertisements and so on. The buyers will be interested to know the features and condition of the vessel."
She revealed the fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who is believed to have bought the yacht using funds embezzled from 1DMB, has not protested the auction of the superyacht. Selvaratnam also estimated that the yacht will be put up for sale by the second week of November, with bids received in early December.
It comes after the Cayman Islands-registered yacht was transferred to Malaysia in August after being seized by Indonesian authorities at the request of the US Department of Justice. It arrived at Port Klang on August 7 where it was immediately boarded by Malaysian officials. The department is investigating the alleged misappropriation of $4.5 billion from Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB by high level officials and their associates.
The US authorities believe that the funds used to purchase Equanimity were siphoned off from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB between 2009 and 2015. As well as the Oceanco-built yacht, it is understood that the money was used to buy the rights to several Hollywood movies, including The Wolf of Wall Street and Dumb and Dumber To. Equanimity’s alleged owner Low Taek Jho has been previously identified as a central figure in the scandal.
Malaysia’s finance minister Lim Guan Eng previously said the government will to take a full inventory of items on the yacht and open it for public viewing before auctioning it for “the highest price”. The Malaysian government intends to use the sale of the yacht, which is valued at $250 million, to recover some of the funds lost in the scandal.
As well as the US, there are currently six other countries investigating irregularities related to the 1MDB fund, including Switzerland, Luxembourg and Singapore.
Launched in the Netherlands in 2014, Equanimity was the first superyacht to be built to the new PYC standard. As a result, she can accommodate up to 26 guests, as well as 28 crew members. Her twin 4,828hp MTU 20V4000 M73 diesel engines propel her to a top speed of 19.5 knots. When trimmed back to her cruising speed of 16 knots, Equanimity boasts a globetrotting range, thanks to her total fuel capacity of 271,000 litres.