PETALING JAYA: There is a keen interest among the rich and famous in the yachting community to bid for superyacht Equanimity, once owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
When bidding closed on Wednesday (Nov 28) evening, yacht specialist Burgess Yachts, the sole broker for the sale, saw interest from Asia, Europe, Middle East and America.
These bidders had also placed a US$1mil (RM4.1mil) deposit to qualify for the auction.
"Given the extremely niche, specialist and elite market, within the short time the Equanimity was open for the offer, we have received interest from around the world.
Many have visited the superyacht for viewing," the legal team representing the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 29).
The bids for the superyacht were opened by the sheriff of the High Court on Wednesday as part of the judicial sale process in the presence of the legal team and Burgess Yachts. It took place at the Jalan Duta Courthouse at 3pm.
"We are not at liberty to reveal the number or value of these offers," said the statement.
"But we are pleased with the way the entire process has been conducted. There has been tremendous support and facilitation by the Government, the Court and Burgess in this process of sale."
There is no published "asking price" or reserve price for the yacht.
Although the bidders would have named their price to acquire the vessel, the High Court has the right to even reject the highest bid, if it fails to match the court's appraised value of the yacht.
The statement said the appraised value of Equanimity remains confidential, as with the identity of the bidders, to protect the privacy of the bidders and the integrity of the process until the sale is completed.
It stated the Sheriff of the High Court will communicate with the bidders while Burgess, an outsider from the yachting market, would observe the entire process as part of a balance between confidentiality and transparency.
It is understood that if a bid is successful, the yacht would be handed over to the new owner in the next two to three weeks.
A source said if there are no takers, Malaysia can initiate a second bid or negotiate directly with the potential buyer, who had placed a “sufficiently high” bid to dispose of the vessel.
The Equanimity is one of many luxury items seized by the United States Department of Justice as part of its probe into money laundering in the 1MDB scandal.
The luxury items include a US$1.29mil (RM5.4mil) heart-shaped diamond and a US$3.8mil (RM15.9mil) diamond pendant that Low gave to Australian model Miranda Kerr.
The 91.5m-long Equanimity, which has a Turkish bath, swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad, is now docked at the Royal Malaysian Navy's Region 3 headquarters in Langkawi.
Equanimity was seized off the coast of Bali by Indonesia in February at the request of US authorities as part of a probe into the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal.
The Indonesian government then handed over the vessel to Malaysia authority in August.