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Malaysia picks Burgess as central agent for Equanimity sale

KUALA LUMPUR (October 8): Burgess has been appointed as the exclusive central agent for the sale of the US$250 million (RM1.04 billion) Equanimity, owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low.

A check on Burgess’ website showed that the High Court of Malaya had appointed Burgess to assist with the sale of the 91.5m (300ft) superyacht.

This follows the approval by the High Court, sitting as an admiralty court, last Friday to appoint a central broker and an appraiser for the Equanimity, after hearing submissions by lawyers representing 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and the government on the same day.

Lawyer Sitpah Selvaratnam, who is representing 1MDB, was reported as saying last Friday that it is hoped the the Equanimity would have a new owner and be out of Malaysia by early December.

According to the Burgess website, the sales process will follow strict guidelines, but essentially shall be by the submission of sealed bids by qualified potential buyers to be opened by the Sheriff of the High Court in November or December this year.

“In accordance with admiralty law, the judicial sale will provide the buyer with an internationally recognised ownership title free of mortgage, attachment and all encumbrances,” it added.

The website stated that the Equanimity was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands in 2014 to accommodate up to 20 to 22 guests in 10 to 11 suites in addition to 28 crew.

“Her interior was designed by Andrew Winch Design using a variety of exotic materials. Her amenities include an impressive beach club and health centre with a gym, Pilates studio, sauna, hamman, plunge pool and beauty salon. Other amenities and equipment include a hospital, a fully certified helipad, two 10.5m Hodgdon tenders and a 20-sq m swimming pool with jets.

“The Equanimity is powered by two MTU 20v 4000M73L engines providing a maximum speed of up to 20 knots. At cruising speed, her range is 5,000 nautical miles (9,260km),” said Burgess.

The superyacht is reportedly among more than US$1.7 billion in assets that the US claims were acquired by Jho Low, and his accomplices with money they siphoned from 1MDB.

Jho Low, while he never held any official role at 1MDB, was said to exert great influence on the fund. His current whereabouts are unknown but the Malaysian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for him. Jho Low, whose Malaysian passport has been revoked, has previously denied any wrongdoing.

A representative of Jho Low has said the handing over of the Equanimity to Malaysia was illegal and in violation of Indonesian and US court orders.

The Cayman Islands-flagged vessel is currently docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre in Port Klang, having arrived on Aug 7 after being handed over by Indonesian authorities. The Equanimity was seized off the coast of Bali by Indonesia in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multibillion-dollar corruption probe launched by the US Department of Justice into 1MDB.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Oct 8, 2018.

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