91.5-metre (300-foot) motor yacht Equanimity could be sold at auction before the end of 2018 following the appointment of Burgess as the vessel’s central agent by a Malaysian court.
The superyacht has been mired in legal issues since March, when 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.
In the following months the Malaysian government and Equanimity’s apparent holding company has been involved in a protracted ownership dispute, with the latter claiming that the Oceanco-built boat should never have ended up in the hands of the authorities.
Nevertheless, according to reports, judicial commissioner Khadijah Idris has given the go ahead for Burgess to represent the yacht after lawyers for the 1DMB submitted a request in court.
Sitpah Selvaratnam, part of the legal team representing the fund, revealed to Malaysia outlet The Star Online, "The appraiser will evaluate the fair value of the vessel, while a central broker will be tidying up the advertisements and so on. The buyers will be interested to know the features and condition of the vessel."
She also added that Equanimity could be made available for sale within a month, with bids to be received in early December. 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. The holding company Equanimity has since issued a further statement about the situation following an earlier attempt to “set the story straight”.
Malaysian finance minister Lim Guan Eng has already stated that the government will also undertake a full inventory of items aboard the yacht and open it for public viewing before ensuring it is sold at auction for “the highest price”. The sale of the luxury vessel, which is supposedly valued at $250 million, is in part a bid to recover some of the funds lost in 1MDB scandal.