It’s damage control, says Jho Low on plan to sell Equanimity

Businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low. (Bloomberg pic)

PETALING JAYA: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho today slammed Putrajaya over the court application to sell luxury yacht Equanimity, calling it an attempt by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to deal with the consequences of seizing the RM1 billion vessel.

In a statement issued through his lawyers, Low, better known as Jho Low, said the US government had been willing to cover the cost of the vessel’s upkeep pending proceedings in the country.

However, he said, “Mahathir’s forces” had “illegally boarded the yacht and sailed it off to Malaysia”.

“His politically motivated publicity stunt to prop up his fragile regime has obviously backfired,” he said. “He now realises it costs millions to maintain the yacht, so his only option is an illegal quick fire sale at a likely huge discount.”

Accusing Mahathir of putting an unnecessary financial burden on Putrajaya, he said it was unlikely that any bid would come close to the vessel’s fair market value.

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.

Earlier today, the owner of the superyacht said it had received no legally valid notice of any filing related to a sale or a pending court hearing in the matter.

Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd added that Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel and its proposed sale would drastically reduce the yacht’s potential sale value.

“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.