By BERNAMA / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
The luxury superyacht Equanimity, which belongs to the Malaysian government, will be sold 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 or approximately 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 Ltd.
“Now, there is a guide price to potential buyers. The market value, as appraised by Winterbothams, is US$130 million,” she said when met by reporters after the case management at the Admiralty Court before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Khadijah Idris in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Sitpah also said the government has 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 an 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 negotiations, and that the completion date of the sale is 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 Ltd and 1MDB Global Investment Ltd — 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, 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 the 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 proceed to sell the yacht.
Later on Oct 26, the same court had approved the terms and conditions of the bidding process for the vessel to commence from Oct 29 until Nov 28.
The Equanimity was allegedly bought by Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low using money stolen from the scandal-tainted state fund 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 into 1MDB.