6 to 9 months to identify actual owner/s of Equanimity say lawyers

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 7 Aug 2018

PORT KLANG (Bernama): The probe to identify the actual owner/s of the luxury superyacht Equanimity will take six to nine months, according to lawyer Jeremy Joseph, who is representing the Malaysian government.

He said the process could be speeded up if nobody claims ownership on the vessel.

"The warrant to detain the vessel was issued by the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday.

“Next week, the team of lawyers appointed by the government will get back to the court for the next course of action to identify the real owner of owners,” he told reporters after making an inspection of the yacht at the Boustead Cruise Centre Terminal at Port Klang today.

Jeremy said for today, the legal team representing the government on the Equanimity was to only make the inspection as soon as it docked at the terminal.

Another lawyer in the team, Sitpah Selvaratnam, said the team, which spent about two hours on board, found the superyacht to be in good condition.

“It has a crew of 17 including the captain. What we did today is basically hand over the warrant (of the ship's arrest) to the captain,” she said, adding that the main objective now was to ensure that it is maintained well, something which will be handled by the crew.

She explained that the crew, who signed up three years ago, were allowed to come ashore and that maintenance costs come to about RM3 million a month.

The yacht, estimated to be worth about RM1 billion, is believed to have been bought with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

International authorities are still hunting down the owner, believed to be fugitive Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, to assist investigations into the abuse of 1MDB funds.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad thanked Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government for their assistance in handing over the Equanimity, which the

Indonesian authorities had seized, to Malaysia.

The superyacht was seized in Bali in February. In April, an Indonesian court ruled that it should not have been seized and should be returned to its owner.

However, the Indonesian government seized it again in July.

On Saturday, the Indonesian government agreed to hand over the yacht to Malaysia. It arrived at the Port Klang cruise terminal at around noon today. -- BERNAMA