Court allows direct talks with government to sell Equanimity

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today revised an order to allow interested parties to purchase superyacht Equanimity by entering into direct negotiation with the government.

Lawyer Jeremy Joseph, appearing for the government and 1MDB, said the revised order was approved by judicial commissioner Khadijah Idris in chambers today.

“It is basically to revise a little the terms of the central agency of payment with Burgess to allow more flexibility for parties who are interested in approaching us directly,” he told reporters.

He was referring to brokerage firm Burgess, which was appointed by the government to manage the sale of the vessel.

Joseph said the government and 1MDB had to return to the court as the order made last year was that interested parties could only negotiate with Burgess.

He added that Burgess remained the central agency broker.

“We want to ensure that the net is cast wide enough to cover other clients as well, who can come and negotiate with us directly,” he said.

He said the point of revising the order was to maximise potential purchases as there had been an upward momentum in offers.

In August, 1MDB and the government obtained an order to sell the Equanimity, citing the high cost of maintaining the vessel.

They received the green light from the court in October to appoint brokers and an appraiser to sell off the RM1 billion luxury yacht.

Burgess subsequently began the necessary paperwork for advertisements and information memorandums for potential buyers on the specifications and condition of the vessel.

In December, the government obtained a court order for a minimum price tag of US$130 million (about RM543.7 million).

The 91.5m-long vessel is currently docked at the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Region 3 headquarters in Langkawi.

The Cayman Islands-flagged Equanimity, which is linked to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, was seized in February by the Indonesian government at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation related to 1MDB launched by the US Department of Justice.