Court Allows Equanimity Sale

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The Admiralty Court here has granted an application by the Malaysian government, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and two of its subsidiaries to sell the superyacht Equanimity.

Reuters

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Khatijah Idis meted out the judgment in chambers under Order 29 Rule 4 of the Rules of Court 2012.

Counsel Ong Chee Kwan represented all the plaintiffs, namely 1MDB, 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd, 1MDB Global Investment Ltd and the government.

He said the vessel was a diminishing asset as the cost of maintaining it was very high, and any proceeds from a sale would be reduced the longer it was left unsold.

According to Ong, Khatijah said the order was made due to the security of the yacht and its cost of maintenance.

He explained that they were making the application to sell the vessel first before deciding on the next course of action.

He added that the RM1 billion vessel was expected to be sold by the end of the year, pending litigation on ownership of the yacht.

A valuer would be appointed to appraise the ship.

“We did not receive any appearance to claim ownership of the vessel as of today.

“Now, the next step is we are going to apply for judgment in default which will entitle us to claim the proceeds.

“At the moment, our main focus is to ensure the vessel is sold,” he said after the proceedings.

In the suit, the government and the 1MDB group named the ship’s owner, Equanimity of Cayman Islands, as the sole defendant filed via the law firm of Jeremy Joseph and partners on Thursday (Aug 23).

In the notice of application, the four plaintiffs are asking for the sale of the ship, bunkers, fuel, lubricants and other consumables on board to be conducted via public tender or private treaty by the Admiralty Court sheriff.

The applicants want the sheriff to receive bids or offers for the vessel and the bunkers, and for the purchase price to be paid to the sheriff in US dollars, euros or ringgit.

The plaintiffs said proceeds from the sale of the Equanimity should be paid to the court and kept in a bank account in Malaysia approved by the Accountant-General.

On Aug 6, a writ of summons was issued to the owner of the vessel and Wilson Yacht Management Ltd, the company that operates the Equanimity.

The superyacht arrived in Malaysia on Aug 7 after being handed over by Indonesian authorities.

The Equanimity was seized off the coast of Bali by Indonesia in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar corruption probe launched by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over 1MDB.