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Malaysia assesses bids for Jho Low's yacht after global interest

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The appraised value of the yacht as well as the identity of the bidders will be kept private until the sale is completed, the lawyers said.

Tuesday 04, December 2018

(Bloomberg)--Malaysia is assessing bids for a luxury yacht once owned by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho after a monthlong auction attracted global interest for the vessel allegedly purchased with funds pilfered from 1MDB.

The Sheriff of the High Court of Malaya received offers for the “Equanimity” as well as interest from buyers from Asia, Europe, Middle East and the US before the auction closed on Wednesday, the legal team said in a statement. They didn’t disclose the number of bids or if any were higher than the court-approved appraised value.

“Now we must allow the residual process of court to see its natural course,” said the lawyers handling the judicial sale. “As the next step, the Sheriff will communicate with the bidders.”

The appraised value of the yacht as well as the identity of the bidders will be kept private until the sale is completed, the lawyers said.

A smooth sale could help ease pressure on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as he seeks to fulfil a campaign pledge to recover funds believed to be missing from 1MDB. The leader has said he aims to recover as much $4.5 billion. The yacht has already cost Malaysian taxpayers maintenance fees of more than MYR 3.5 million ($836,600).

Prime Minister is seeking to recover $4.5 billion of funds believed to be embezzled from troubled state fund 1MDB as he grapples with a budget deficit that’s set to widen to the largest in five years.

The yacht’s former owner Jho Low has been described as a central figure in the billion-dollar 1MDB scandal that has resulted in worldwide investigations and engulfed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. along with former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The Equanimity is just one part of a treasure trove of glitzy possessions once owned by Low and now the subject of legal wrangling and asset seizures around the world. The US has filed forfeiture lawsuits against $1.7 billion of assets that were allegedly acquired with money embezzled from 1MDB, including a $1.29 million heart-shaped diamond and a $3.8 million diamond pendant that Low gave to Kerr, as well as a $3.2 million Picasso painting that Low gifted to actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

TAGS : Low Taek Jho, High Court of Malaya, 1MBD, Mahathir Mohamad, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Najib Razak, Equanimity, Leonardo DiCaprio, Picasso

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