KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The High Court here Friday (Oct 19) declared that the superyacht Equanimity belongs to two 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiaries – and indirectly the Malaysian government – after its registered owner failed to show up in court to claim the vessel.
To that effect, the Malaysian government is now free to sell the vessel, said lawyer Sitpah Selvaratnam, who is leading the legal team for the government, 1MDB and two others which had applied for a judgment in default (JID) against the registered owner of Equanimity over its sale.
She said the decision was made in chambers by Judicial Commissioner Datuk Khajidah Idris.
"The court today has declared that the two 1MDB companies, which are 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited and 1MDB Global Investment Limited, to be the legal and beneficial owner of the vessel. Therefore, indirectly, the government of Malaysia is the ultimate beneficiary.
"Now, the vessel can be sold without any legal restriction," she said.
On Oct 5, the same court had granted an application by the four plaintiffs to appoint a central broker and an international appraiser to handle the sale of the Equanimity, which purportedly belongs to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho.
It followed a decision on Aug 24, by the same court in granting an application by the four plaintiffs to sell the Equanimity.
In the application filed on Aug 23, the four plaintiffs named the owner of the ship, Equanimity of Cayman Islands, as the defendant in the suit filed via the law firm of Jeremy Joseph and Partners.
In the notice of application, the four plaintiffs asked for the sale of the ship, bunkers, fuel, lubricants and other consumables on board to be conducted via public tender or private treaty by the Admiralty Court sheriff.
The plaintiffs wanted the sheriff to receive bids or offers for the vessel and the bunkers and for the purchase price to be paid to the sheriff in US dollars or euros or ringgit.
They said the proceeds of the sale of the vessel should be paid into court and placed in a bank account in Malaysia as approved by the Accountant-General.
The superyacht was brought to Port Klang on Aug 7 after the Indonesian authorities handed it over to Malaysia.
It was seized off Bali in February at the request of US authorities as part of the corruption investigation launched by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) into 1MDB. – Bernama