The seizure took place after mutual treaties between Indonesia, US and Malaysia were activated, says AG
By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR
The seizure of luxury yacht Equanimity was done according to laws and procedures, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
He described the claims made by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho’s (Jho Low) lawyer on the legitimacy of the seizure by Malaysian government as false.
“The seizure of the Equanimity yacht is valid and in accordance with the procedures set out by Malaysian laws.
“The US and Indonesian governments had agreed to hand over the yacht to Malaysian officials,” Liew told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Liew was responding to a query by MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (BN-Pengerang) who seeked clarification from the Prime Minister’s Department on claims by Jho Low’s lawyer that the seizure of the yacht by the Malaysian government is illegal.
Liew added that the Malaysian government, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and two of its subsidiaries had requested the Kuala Lumpur High Court to use its jurisdiction to issue an arrest warrant against the Equanimity vessel once the boat arrived in Malaysian waters.
The RM1 billion-worth superyacht docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre, Pulau Indah, on Aug 7, 2018.
According to Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas, the yacht was seized by the Indonesian authorities in Bali on Feb 28, 2018, on the application of the US Department of Justice.
It took place after mutual legal assistance treaties between Indonesia, the US and Malaysia were activated.
“Sensitive and delicate negotiations” were then conducted at the highest levels of different agencies from the three countries to accomplish the feat of bringing the Equanimity back to Malaysia.
“So, the allegations that the Malaysian government has seized the proceedings of other countries are baseless, since it was agreed by other two parties (the US and Indonesia). “The purchase was allegedly made with the stolen and laundered monies owned by 1MDB and its two subsidiaries,” Liew added.
The minister also said the government has full information on the ownership of the yacht.
The 300ft long vessel has been traced to Cayman Island with the registered number, 1012086.
“Based on the affidavit of support that was filed in court, on Sept 9, 2013, Jho Low and his parents Low Hock Peng and Evelyn Goh Gaik Ewe flew from Barcelona to Rotterdam — where the Equanimity was being built — to view the yacht.
“Following that, the yacht was delivered to Jho Low on or around June 24, 2014,” he said in response to MP Wong Kah Woh (Pakatan Harapan-Ipoh Timur) that asked on the details of Equanimity’s actual owner.
Liew claimed that the government is awaiting Jho Low’s return to Malaysia to claim the yacht. He also noted that all the required information has been filed in court through warrant of arrest proceedings and affidavit support.
“All of this is in the public documents and open for public viewing,” Liew said.