Equanimity owner claims no legal notice received over sale of the superyacht

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 24): The company which owns The Equanimity has questioned a court application by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) to sell the superyacht

Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd said it has not received any legal notice related to the sale of the vessel, linked to businessman Low Taek Jho, nor any notice of pending court hearing in the matter.

Low, who is accused of using funds misappropriated from 1MDB to buy the yacht, has described the seizure of the yacht as illegal.

Equanimity (Cayman), in a statement, also called the seizure unlawful.

“For Malaysia to act unilaterally while there are pending court requests in the US would be an affront to the international rule of law,” the company said.

“In fact, Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel is already contrary to a US court order appointing the US government as custodian of the yacht,” it added.

Equanimity (Cayman) noted that there are ongoing proceedings before US courts regarding the ownership and custody of the asset.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) in fact submitted a filing in the US court less than one week ago, it added.

Equanimity (Cayman) claimed that it is “indisputably clear” that Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel and apparent intent to immediately sell it goes entirely against the interests of the yacht and will drastically reduce its potential sale value.

“Due to the Malaysian government’s precipitous, ill-conceived, and misguided actions, the yacht is running 24 hours per day, seven days a week on generator power, which is unsustainable and harmful to the vessel.

“Moreover, Malaysia has currently docked the yacht in a hazardous environment in which toxins such as water pollution and nearby smoke are greatly damaging it,” it said.

The company claimed that Malaysia apparently does not have — or does not want to spend — the necessary funds to properly maintain the vessel while it is prepared for a value-maximizing sale.

Malaysia has instead proposed a “fire sale,” in which the yacht is to be sold for a fraction of its true value, it added.

“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,” it said.

Equanimity (Cayman) highlighted that these misguided actions would create a cloud on the Equanimity’s ownership that could easily take years to resolve in several courts around the world.

Earlier today, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur allowed an application to expedite the sale of the yacht, believed to be acquired for US$250 million using money siphoned from 1MDB.

The application was made by 1MDB, its subsidiaries 1MDB Global Investment Ltd and 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, and the Malaysian government, against the "owner of Equanimity from the Cayman Islands".

The hearing, which took about 90 minutes today, was conducted in front of High Court judge Khadijah Idris, while shipping lawyers Jeremy Joseph and Ong Chee Kwan were among those present to represent the plaintiffs.

1MDB and the Government first filed for a writ of summons against Equanimity (Cayman) on Aug 6 and obtained a warrant of arrest from the Admiralty Court against the vessel, which arrived on Malaysian shores the next day.