250 MILLION USD LUXURY YACHT SEIZED IN BALI ON DEMAND OF U.S.
Thursday, 01 March 2018 18:12
Indonesia seized ON 28/02/2018 a luxury yacht on the island of Bali sought by the US Department of Justice.
as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation linked to Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), police said.
The luxury yacht that was allegedly bought with funds siphoned from 1MDB has been seized off the coast of Teluk Benoa in Bali, Indonesia
after a joint operation by Indonesian and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Indonesian media reports indicate that there were 34 crew members on
The Equanimity and that the vessel had been in Indonesian waters since November last year.
“We have been inspecting the crew since yesterday and now we are taking action since we have received
approval from the court to seize the boat,” Agung Setya, director of economic and special crimes at Indonesia’s criminal investigation bureau,
There is no word if whether businessperson Low Taek Jho @ Jho Low was aboard the reportedly US$250 million (RM1 billion) vessel.
Numerous reports and photographic evidence have shown that The Equanimity was used by Low to host lavish parties,
with Hollywood A-listers including Leonardo DiCaprio and supermodel Miranda Kerr among those who have spent time aboard.
The vessel is being sought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) on the grounds
that it was bought using laundered money involving 1MDB.
In total, the DOJ is seeking to seize approximately US$1 billion worth of assets
which was allegedly bought with 1MDB funds that were misappropriated.
However, both DiCaprio and Kerr have handed in assets which were being sought by the DOJ.
In October last year, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
said he had no information about Low’s yacht. At the time, the yacht was spotted off Phuket, Thailand.
Based on information gathered from leading media group serving the superyacht industry,
it was learned that 'The Equanimity' has a helipad, a 20-metre swimming pool, life jackets
and a cinema, among other facilities.
A Malaysian businessman allegedly at the centre of a financial scandal has accused US justice officials of "global overreach"
after a yacht linked to the controversy was seized off Bali.
Police in Bali on Wednesday boarded and searched the luxury vessel Equanimity which was being sought by US investigator
s as part of their probe into Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
The US Justice Department alleges in civil lawsuits that $4.5 billion was looted from 1MDB --
set up Prime Minister Najib Razak -- in a campaign of fraud and money-laundering. Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.
The suits list $1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought with the stolen money US officials are seeking to recover
These include the 300-foot (90-metre) yacht Equanimity, reportedly worth some $250 million,
which US officials said was bought by a financier known as Jho Low, an unofficial adviser to 1MDB.
Low, real name Low Taek Jho, was said to have made key financial decisions linked to 1MDB,
although he did not hold any official positions in Malaysia.
He has denied any wrongdoing and his current whereabouts are unknown.
After the seizure of Equanimity, a spokesman for Low noted that the Department of Justice (DoJ)
had officially delayed its efforts to seize assets last year.
A US court reportedly granted a stay after a request from authorities,
as they believed the civil proceedings could affect a criminal probe they are also conducting.
The spokesman said in a statement late Wednesday the DoJ had "still not taken any steps to prove that any impropriety has occurred.
"It is therefore disappointing that, rather than reflecting on the deeply flawed and politically-motivated allegations
, the DoJ is continuing with its pattern of global overreach -- all based on entirely unsupported claims of wrongdoing."
Opposition politicians jumped on the seizure of the Cayman Islands-registered vessel to attack the government.
Senior opposition figure Azmin Ali described the seizure as a "milestone" in the investigation into 1Malaysia Development Berhad ( 1MDB ).
"The failure of Malaysian authorities to act in the cause of justice presents a stark contrast to this bold action by
Indonesian authorities who cooperated with the US Department of Justice," he said in a statement.