Seized superyacht Equanimity to be auctioned off for "nine figure sum"
by Miranda Blazeby
The seized 91.5 metre superyacht Equanimity will be auctioned off for a nine figure sum, lawyers overseeing the auction have said. According to the Asian news site Channel News Asia, the sale of the yacht, which is being conducted by Burgess, is set to take place by the end of March next year.
Lawyers representing the government's state investment fund 1DMB said the Sheriff of the Admiralty court will be seeking court orders to begin the second phase of the sale. “The nine-digit (US$) asking price will be available on application, once court approval is obtained,” said a statement from the legal team.
Sitpah Selvaratnam, a lawyer representing 1DMB, previously revealed the fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who is believed to have bought the yacht using funds embezzled from the fund, has not protested the auction of the superyacht.
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.