Yacht in 1MDB scandal returned to Malaysia: PM Mahathir


Luxury yacht Equanimity, linked to businessman Low Taek Jho, has arrived in Malaysia after making its way from Indonesia.

The Cayman Island-registered vessel Equanimity, which is reportedly worth some US$250 million and is owned by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to the Malaysian fund 1MDB, is pictured at Benoa harbor on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on April 13, 2018.

A total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The suits allege that $1.7 billion worth of assets were allegedly bought with the stolen funds, which United States officials are seeking to recover.

Malaysian anti-graft agents questioned embattled former premier Najib Razak on Tuesday ahead of his pre-trial hearing in court in connection with the multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

As a result of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties ("MLAs") between Indonesia, the USA and Malaysia which were activated recently, sensitive and delicate negotiations were conducted at the highest levels of different agencies in the three countries to accomplish this feat.

Mahathir has said anyone who wants to claim ownership of the yacht must show proof that the vessel was not bought with stolen funds.

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"The vessel would be docked in Batam, waiting for further instructions from Jakarta on when it would be handed over to the Malaysian authorities", the source said.

Low's whereabouts are unknown but he has previously denied wrongdoing.

Chambers has invoked the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court of Malaya at Kuala Lumpur against the yacht, and on 6th August 2018, the Court issued a Warrant of Arrest against it. Following the handover of the yacht to Malaysia, the Justice Department has sought to suspend legal proceedings to determine what Malaysia plans to do with the vessel.

"The yacht will be handed over at the border between Indonesia and Malaysia's waters", Daniel Silitonga, deputy director for economic and special crimes at the Indonesian national police force's Criminal Investigation Agency told Reuters.

The corruption scandal at Malaysia's 1MDB state fund led to the election defeat of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is now facing charges.

Najib, his cronies and family members are accused of stealing huge sums from 1MDB in a sophisticated fraud that spanned the globe.