Equanimity Leaves Bali for Batam, Jho Low’s Lawyer Says Seizure Illegal

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Jho Low’s US$250 million (RM1 billion) superyacht Equanimity left Tanjung Benoa port in Bali on Thursday (Aug 2), heading to Batam.

Reportedly, the yacht would arrive at Batam’s Batu Ampar port on Monday (Aug 6) before it would be handed over to the Malaysian Government.

“The vessel sailed from Tanjung Benao port late Thursday morning. It anchored near Pulau Kangean in the sea off Bali on Thursday night. 

“The yacht will be taken to a Johor port where it would be handed over to the Malaysian authorities.

“However, this arrangement is pending the final go-ahead from Jakarta,” a source was quoted as telling The Star.

The vessel was seized on February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption investigation launched by the Department of Justice (DoJ) related to 1MDB.

A Jakarta court ruling in April declared the yacht was wrongfully impounded and was released to its owners after they got a court motion to declare the seizure was illegal.

However, the vessel was not allowed to leave Tanjung Benoa port.

In July, Indonesian police seized the yacht again following a formal request for legal assistance from the US.

Reuters reported the decision to hand over the yacht to Malaysia was reached following a personal request made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who visited Indonesia in June.

Meanwhile, a lawyer acting on behalf of Jho Low said the seizure of the Equanimity by Malaysian authorities is against court rulings in Indonesia and the United States.

“The action of the Mahathir government in illegitimately taking this asset shows just how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime. 

“It is a violation of an Indonesian law and court decision by a politically motivated Malaysian government bent on advancing its own political agenda with little regard to existing court rulings or basic legal rights,” Low’s lawyer James F Haggerty said in a statement on Sunday (Aug 5).

Haggerty also said that the transfer of the superyacht goes against recent US court orders.

“The US DoJ (Department of Justice) has argued that it is critical that they have possession to ensure the asset retains its value until a fair court hearing can determine final ownership and the rights of all the parties involved,” he said.

He added that actions like these made it clear that there was “no jurisdiction where the issues, in this case, can be subject to a fair hearing”.

Haggerty claimed this was due to a global media circus “fuelled by politically motivated parties” whose aim was to convict Low in the public arena.