SINGAPORE (April 3): Equanimity, the multi-million dollar superyacht that once belonged to the alleged mastermind of Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal Low Taek Jho (Jho Low), has been sold for a “very satisfactory sale price” of US$126 million ($170.6 million) to KLSE-listed Genting Berhad.
The sale price is nearly half of the US$250 million which Low supposedly paid for the yacht in 2014, and under superyacht specialist Winterbothams’ guide price of US$130 million.
To recap, Equanimity was seized in Feb last year at Bali, Indonesia, as part of more than US$1.7 billion in assets which the US Department of Justice (DoJ) claims were acquired by Low with money allegedly siphoned from 1MDB.
Auctions for the Equanimity commenced in Oct 2018 after it was returned to Malaysia via Port Klang in Aug, with the price tag originally estimated by a 1MDB lawyer to range from RM100 million ($32.88 million) to just below the RM1 billion mark.
The 300-foot luxury vessel boasts a gym, pool, gallery, beauty salon and helipad.
It is due to be delivered to Genting by end-April this year.
In a media release issued on Wednesday, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said the sale of Equanimity ranks as the highest recovery to date for the country’s 1MDB scandal, highlighting that the deal with Genting was reached “within a mere eight months” from the commencement of its auction.
Genting's offer of US$126 million was the highest received over the last five months when the yacht was first put up for sale.
As the offer was negotiated directly between Genting and Malaysia’s government, the latter estimates agency commission savings of about US$4.4 million.
“Many offers were received in this period, and few were over US$100 million. It was Genting, however, that offered the highest price, that was today approved by Court for acceptance,” says Tomas, who attributes the arrival at the “very satisfactory sale price” of US$126 million to the legal team representing Malaysia’s government.
“Although the Winterbothams’ market price evaluation of the Equanimity at US$130 million was not reached, the net returns to the Government of Malaysia is as good, if not more, than envisaged,” he adds.
Aside from lauding the Malaysian Navy for affording space in Langkawi for docking the Equanimity over the last five months at no charge, the Attorney-General also thanked the Malaysian Police force for escorting the superyacht even during sea trials by prospective buyers.
Both authorities have “helped tremendously in keeping down the costs of maintaining the Equanimity under arrest”, he says.
A further statement will be issued once the Malaysian government receives the money for the sale in full – complete with a breakdown of expenses incurred, and the net amount to be credited into a newly-opened 1MDB asset recovery account.
“The Government of Malaysia is appreciative of the offer by Genting. That the Equanimity is purchased at the market value of US$126 million by the Genting Group, which owns a shipyard that builds superyachts and operates a luxury yacht charting division, is significant,” Thomas concludes.