Malaysia will sell a superyacht allegedly bought with stolen funds from state fund 1MDB to casino operator Genting Malaysia Bhd for US$126 million, in the first major asset sale by Putrajaya to recover billions lost from the fund.
The superyacht Equanimity is among assets allegedly bought by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and his associates with money taken from the fund, US and Malaysian investigators have said.
Jho Low, as he is known, allegedly paid US$250 million for the 91m yacht, which has an interior clad in marble and gold leaf, a spa and sauna, a 20m swimming pool, a movie theatre and helipad.
Putrajaya put up the luxury yacht for sale in October, setting a minimum price tag of US$130 million, but had struggled to find a buyer at that price.
“Many offers were received… and a few were over US$100 million,” Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement today, adding that Genting will pay the US$126 million by the end of April.
Thomas said the government negotiated directly with Genting Malaysia and, as a result, would save US$4.4 million in agent’s commission.
Genting Malaysia did not immediately respond to request for comment.
1MDB, founded by former prime minister Najib Razak, is being investigated by at least six countries for money laundering and corruption.
The US Department of Justice has said some US$4.5 billion was siphoned from 1MDB, and used by Jho Low and his associates to buy the yacht, a private jet, as well as Picasso paintings, jewellery, and real estate. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power after a stunning victory in last year’s election, has vowed to recover the money allegedly stolen from 1MDB.
Police have issued an arrest warrant and filed criminal charges against Jho Low, but his whereabouts are unknown.
Jho Low has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
His representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment. – FMT