The 91.5-meter M/Y Equanimity was seized in February 2018, transferred to Malaysia in August, and was finally sold by Malaysia’s government on April 3 for $126 million to Genting Malaysia Bhd, or “its special purpose vehicle company.” Genting Malaysia is part of a conglomerate that operates casinos, resorts, and cruise lines in many countries, including the U.S. and Australia.
“The Admiralty Court in Kuala Lumpur today approved for acceptance, the offer by Genting to purchase the Equanimity on the Sheriff’s Terms and Conditions,” said Attorney General of Malaysia Tommy Thomas in a press release.
The $126 million will be paid by Genting and received by the court by the end of April 2019, making it the highest recovery to date for the Malaysian Government from the 1MDB scandal. This occurred within eight months since the Admiralty Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, granted the sale of the vessel in August 2018.
“This US$126 million is the best offer received over the 5 months, from October 2018, when the Equanimity was first put up for sale,” Thomas said. “Many offers were received in this period, and a few were over US$100 million.”
The Genting offer was negotiated directly with the Malaysian Government so no agency commission is payable, saving about US$4.4 million. “In consequence, 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,” Thomas said in the press release.
Estimates place the Malaysian government’s expenses for yacht maintenance to be around 14.2 million Malaysian Ringgit, or about USD $3.47 million, according to Boat International. The Navy gave space in Langkawi to dock Equanimity for over five months, free of charge, and ensured the security and safety of the vessel with the assistance of the Malaysian police.
For transparency, another statement will be issued when the US$126 million is received from Genting, with a breakdown of the expenses incurred and the total amount that will be credited into the newly opened 1MDB asset recovery account.
Equanimity was among the assets seized in an investigation regarding money allegedly stolen from a Malaysian government investment fund, 1 Malaysia Development Berhad. Jho Low was charged in August 2018 with eight counts of laundering money, much of which was reportedly used to purchase Equanimity. The investment fund was established and overseen by the former prime minister, Najib Razak.
On April 3, Razak attended his first day of trial to face seven of 42 charges, including abuse of power to money-laundering, associated with his role in this scandal, according to The Straits Times. He has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.
M/Y Equanimity is getting a new beginning as she has been renamed Tranquility by her new owner, Genting Malaysia Bhd. The 91.5-meter yacht lies in Singapore under her new name, according to Boat International.
Her sale for $126 million was to be paid by the end of April and it is believed the sale has been finalized. Genting Malaysia reportedly said it bought the superyacht in hopes of standing out among its competitors for its premium clients, Malay Mail reports.
The Malaysian government spent 15.5 million Malaysian Ringgit, or about USD $3.7 million, to maintain Equanimity from the time it was seized until Genting Malaysia bought it last month, according to Malay Mail. The Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the amount is the sum of the services rendered for the past nine months and not the final figure.