The holding company of 91.5-metre (300-foot) motor yacht Equanimity, currently in the midst of a legal wrangle with the Malaysian government about a potential sale, has issued a further statement about the situation following an earlier attempt to “set the story straight”.
Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. says that there has been no legally valid notice on the sale of the superyacht, and that the law requires that one must be received before a sale can progress. The company also say that ongoing action in U.S. courts regarding the rightful ownership of Equanimity means that the Malaysian authorities are acting contrary to a U.S. court order.
“For Malaysia to act unilaterally while there are pending court requests in the US would be an affront to the international rule of law,” reads the firm’s statement. “In fact, Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel is already contrary to a U.S. court order appointing the U.S. government as custodian of the yacht.
“The U.S. has previously stated that it had no advance knowledge of Malaysia’s seizure of the yacht, and presumably, the U.S. had no advance notice of this current Malaysian action either. It is important to note that, despite conflicting statements coming out of the Malaysian government, the U.S. has not proven its case regarding the Equanimity.”
In addition to the status of Equanimity’s ownership, the superyacht’s holding firm claims that the Malaysian government has docked her in “a hazardous environment in which toxins such as water pollution and nearby smoke are greatly damaging it.”
The statement explains that the Malaysian government’s treatment of the superyacht is potentially damaging her value, and that the authorities are “precipitous, ill-conceived and misguided” in their methods, which includes running Equanimity on generator power 24/7 and refusing to spend the necessary money to have the superyacht maintained to a suitable standard.
Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. closes the statement with a warning about potential issues if a sale was to go ahead by the Malaysian government.
“To move for a sale in Malaysia immediately would be a remarkable violation of due process and international legal comity, and would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any potential buyer. These misguided actions would create a cloud on Equanimity’s ownership that could easily take years to resolve in several courts around the world.”
The Malaysian government has not yet responded to this latest development.
In March, it was reported that Equanimity was seized by Indonesian authorities as part of a U.S. investigation into the siphoning of assets from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) between 2009 and 2015.
The superyacht, allegedly bought with funds embezzled from 1MDB, is believed to belong to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho and was handed to the Malaysian authorities at the beginning of August. He has been identified as a key figure in the 1MDB scandal, but at this time his whereabouts are unknown.