The owners of 91.5-metre (300-foot) motor yacht Equanimity have asked an Indonesian court to free the vessel, citing an illegal seizure.
Equanimity was impounded in Bali, Indonesia, in February 2018 at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice as part of an investigation into the siphoning of assets from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB between 2009 and 2015. It is alleged that the superyacht, valued at $330 million U.S. dollars, was bought corruptly with proceeds from the fund.
However, her owners claim that Equanimity’s seizure was illegal because the FBI and Indonesian police did not follow proper protocol before it was impounded.
Malaysian billionaire Jho Low was named as a key figure in the scandal, with the FBI believing him to be Equanimity’s owner. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has also been linked to the scandal, but denies any involvement in corruption or money laundering.
Lawyers representing Equanimity Cayman Ltd claimed in the South Jakarta District Court that the FBI failed to send their request directly to Indonesia’s Law and Human Rights Minister Yassona Laoly. They also argue that the charges related to 1MDB are not proven, so Mr Low’s assets cannot be seized.
Mr Low released a statement in March saying the U.S. Department of Justice case was “entirely without foundation”.
The 91-metre superyacht remains moored off Bali’s Benoa Bay.