PORT KLANG: The RM1bil “Equanimity” will be sold “ASAP” to the highest bidder to recover the stolen money used to buy the superyacht, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Spending an hour on board, the Prime Minister, who is no stranger to yachts, was awestruck by the extent of its grandiose luxury. .
“It’s super luxurious. I have been on yachts before but nothing like this. Everything is superb, and bought with stolen money, by crooks. We’ll get the crooks,” he said after inspecting the yacht, berthed at the Boustead Cruise Centre at Pulau Indah here yesterday.
Dr Mahathir said the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has assured Malaysia that the yacht belongs to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low, bought using money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
“They (DoJ) also said if we want to, we are entitled to keep this yacht because it is ours, bought with stolen Malaysian money.
“Eventually, if we decide to sell it off, we will be entitled to the proceeds,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said there was no time frame given to Low to prove to Malaysian authorities that it was not bought with money stolen from Malaysia.
He said Low would need to do this if he wants to claim the luxury ship.
“But maintenance alone costs us RM2mil a month, so we want to sell it as soon as possible,” Dr Mahathir said.
The premier gave a first-hand account of what he saw during his 62-minute guided inspection.
“It’s not really a yacht. It is a huge ship which has everything – a gymnasium, a sauna, everything you think it should have – is there.
“However, some paintings have been removed, so we have lost that.”
He said since the Government plans to sell the superyacht, it needed to be kept in “very good condition”.
“On yachts, people don’t wear shoes, but we were privileged to wear them.
“If we allowed hundreds of people to enter and view the yacht, it may cause some damage. So we cannot allow this,” he said.
The Prime Minister said some have valued the ship at more than US$100mil (RM408mil) while others have said that the Equanimity is worth US$250mil.
Asked whether anyone had expressed interest in buying the Equanimity, Dr Mahathir said the Government has an idea of who may be interested.
He said the ship will not be auctioned. Instead the Government will accept bids for it.