Seizure of Jho Low-linked yacht illegal, Jakarta court rules

The seized luxury yacht is seen off the shore of Bali, Indonesia on Feb 28, 2018. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Jakarta court has ruled that the government’s seizure of the luxury yacht linked to controversial Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho was invalid, saying the owner of the US$250 million-Equanimity had not been convicted of any crime, Singapore’s The Straits Times reports.

“(If) there is no (proven) crime, there should not be any confiscation,” the paper quoted judge Ratmoho of the South Jakarta District Court as saying, adding that the seizure was invalid and legally baseless.

The court said Indonesian police were wrong in seizing the yacht as it was under the jurisdiction of the law and human rights ministry.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) said the Cayman Islands-registered, 300-foot superyacht was bought by money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Authorities in Bali impounded the yacht on Feb 28. Indonesian police later announced that it was handing over the yacht to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

A company Equanimity Cayman Ltd later filed a lawsuit in Indonesia to stop the seizure, saying the yacht was not linked to any criminal case in the country.

Equanimity is among assets linked to Low sought by DOJ, including a private jet, a hotel and real estate in New York.

DOJ said in its civil lawsuits that some US$4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB through fraud and money-laundering.

The suits list US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with the stolen funds.