KUALA LUMPUR — The Admiralty Court here today granted an application by the government to appoint a central broker and an international appraiser to handle the sale of the luxury superyacht ‘Equanimity’, which purportedly belongs to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low.
Lawyer Sitpah Selvaratnam, who is leading the legal team for the government and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said the central broker can now start doing the necessary paperwork to put up advertisements and information memorandums for potential buyers on the specifications and condition of the vessel.
“We anticipate that the vessel will come out for sale in the next few weeks,” she said when met by reporters after the hearing on the application for a sale order of the vessel before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Khadijah Idris in her chambers, today.
Other members of the legal team present in court were lawyers Jeremy M. Joseph, Ong Chee Kuan, Vinodhini Samuel, representing 1MDB and Senior Federal Counsel Alice Loke Yee Ching, acting for the government.
Sitpah also said that they hoped the Equanimity would have a new owner and hoped that they can sell the Equanimity in early December.
“Of course, we know this is a niche market and the number of potential buyers out there is small. But we hope we have a good purchase receipt, and that is acceptable to the court,” she said.
Sitpah said that the appointed broker and appraiser had international reputations and were well-known in the yacht industry.
When asked about the price, the lawyer said, “We don’t know yet. It will be confidential”.
Asked whether Jho Low or his company had made a court application to claim the vessel, Sitpah said, “No, no one has officially come to us”.
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.
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.