Jho Low’s rep denounces govt’s court bid to expedite Equanimity sale as ‘sham’

Debra Chong
The seized superyacht Equanimity is seen in Port Klang August 7, 2018. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 ― A spokesman for fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho had condemned the government’s move to expedite the sale of superyacht Equanimity through the courts today as a “sham hearing”.

The unnamed spokesman accused Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of bulldozing through the legal process after realising the hefty upkeep of the RM1 billion luxury vessel, pointing out that a case concerning Equanimity is pending in the US courts.

The government has asserted that the superyacht was purchased by Low using money stolen from sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“This is nothing more than a sham hearing as part of an unjust and arbitrary legal process subject to the whims of a vindictive regime regarding an asset whose ownership has yet to be determined.

“His politically-motivated publicity stunt to prop up his fragile regime has obviously backfired: 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,” the spokesman said in a statement purportedly issued through Low’s lawyers and emailed to local media here through a public relations company.

He claimed that the US government was willing to cover the maintenance cost of the superyacht pending proceedings in the US courts.

“This illegal and costly act once again shows Mahathir’s interests are purely political and that he has no respect for the rule of law,” the representative said in a parting shot.

The High Court is scheduled to hear this afternoon an application for a court order to expedite the sale of Equanimity filed yesterday by the government, 1MDB and its subsidiaries 1MDB Energy Holdings Limited and 1MDB Global Investment Limited.

The government 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 are asking 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 firms want 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.

The firms 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.

A writ of summons was issued on August 6 to the “owner of the vessel”, as well as to Wilson Yacht Management Ltd, the company that operates the Equanimity.

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