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Equanimity will be sold at no less than US$130m - Sitpah Selvaratnam

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 13): The luxury superyacht 'Equanimity', which belongs to the Malaysian Government, will be sold for at a price of no less than US$130 million (RM543 million), which is half of its original price.

It is reportedly worth US$250 million (RM1 billion).

Lawyer Sitpah Selvaratnam, who is leading the legal team for the government and 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) on the “Equanimity” case , said the price was set after the yacht was valued by UK-based independent appraiser Winterbothams.

"Now there is a guide price to potential buyers. The market value as appraised by Winterbothams which is US$130 million," she said when met by reporters after a case management on the case at the Admiralty Court before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Khadijah Idris here  today.

Sitpah also said that the government had received a court order to permit the second phase of the judicial sale of the yacht.

"The first phase received bids but the bids were not of acceptable degree. So, we have to move into the second phase," she added.

The lawyer said the second phase will be a normal sale through private negotiation and the completion date of the sale was set for March 31, next year.

On Aug 24, the Admiralty Court granted an application by the government as well as 1MDB and two of its subsidiaries, namely 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited and 1MDB Global Investment Limited, to sell the “Equanimity”.

In the application  filed on Aug 23, the four plaintiffs named the owner of the ship, Equanimity of Cayman Islands, as the defendant in the suit filed via the law firm of Jeremy Joseph & Partners.

In the notice of application, the four plaintiffs asked for the sale of the ship, bunkers, fuel, lubricants and other consumables on board to be conducted via public tender or private treaty by the Admiralty Court sheriff.

The plaintiffs wanted the sheriff to receive bids or offers for the vessel and the bunkers and for the purchase price to be paid to the sheriff in US dollars or euros or ringgit.

They said the proceeds of the sale of the vessel should be paid into court and placed in a bank account in Malaysia as approved by the Accountant-General.

On Oct 19, the Admiralty Court declared that “Equanimity” belonged to the Malaysian government and 1MDB as the beneficiary owner when its registered owner failed to be in court to claim the vessel and that the government could then sell the yacht.

Then, on Oct 26, the same court  had approved the terms and conditions for the bidding process for the vessel to commence from Oct 29 until Nov 28.

“Equanimity”, was allegedly bought by Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low using money stolen from scandal-tainted 1MDB. 

It was seized in Bali, Indonesia in February before it was handed over to the Malaysian government in August.

The superyacht was brought to Port Klang on Aug 7 after the Indonesian authorities handed it over to Malaysia.

It was seized off Bali in February at the request of the US authorities as part of the corruption investigation launched by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) into 1MDB.

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