Equanimity owner slams proposed ‘fire sale’ of luxury yacht

PETALING JAYA: The owner of luxury yacht Equanimity today hit out at reports that the 1MDB group intends to sell the RM1 billion vessel, saying this would be a “remarkable violation of due process and international legal comity”.

Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd said it had received no legally valid notice of any filing related to a sale or a pending court hearing in the matter.

It added that sale of the vessel would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any potential buyer.

“These misguided actions would create a cloud on the Equanimity’s ownership that could easily take years to resolve in several courts around the world,” it said in a statement today.

It was reported yesterday that 1MDB Global Investments Ltd, 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, 1MDB and the Malaysian government had made an application to the High Court to sell the luxury yacht by way of public auction or private treaty.

According to court documents sighted by FMT, the application said the sale was necessary due to the high cost of maintaining the yacht.

The plaintiffs also filed for a declaration that they were the owners of the yacht as it had been bought with money stolen from 1MDB, and an order to sell the vessel with the proceeds handed to the rightful owner after a court hearing on the declaration.

The Equanimity has been held at Port Klang since its arrival in Malaysian waters on Aug 7.

Indonesian police seized the yacht at the request of the US authorities and handed it over to Malaysia after a recent visit by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the country.

Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd said Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel and its proposed “fire sale” would drastically reduce the yacht’s potential sale value.

It said the Equanimity was currently running “24 hours per day, seven days a week” on generator power which was both unsustainable and harmful to the vessel.

“Moreover, Malaysia has currently docked the yacht in a hazardous environment in which toxins such as water pollution and nearby smoke are greatly damaging it.

“Because Malaysia apparently does not have – or does not want to spend – the necessary funds to properly maintain the vessel while it is prepared for a value-maximising sale, Malaysia has instead proposed a ‘fire sale’, in which the yacht is to be sold for a fraction of its true value,” it said.

It also noted ongoing proceedings before US courts regarding the ownership and custody of the yacht, claiming active requests were filed before a US judge within the past 24 hours.

“For Malaysia to act unilaterally while there are pending court requests in the US would be an affront to the international rule of law,” it said.

It added that the US had yet to prove its case on the Equanimity, saying it had only filed “unproven allegations in court proceedings” after which the case was put on hold over the claimants’ objections.

“The result of that is that no party has been able to substantively respond to the allegations, and nor has the US been required to prove them,” it said.