13
Apr
18

Jho Low bought Equanimity with 1MDB funds – DOJ says it, again

Jho Low bought Equanimity with 1MDB funds – DOJ says it, again

The US Department of Justice has again reiterated that Malaysian national Low Taek Jho bought the US$250 million megayacht the Equanimity with funds allegedly “stolen and embezzled” from 1MDB.

“Indeed, as alleged throughout the complaint (by the DOJ), Low was a central player in orchestrating the theft of billions of dollars from 1MDB,” said the DOJ in a court filing yesterday, as sighted by Malaysiakini.

This was part of the DOJ’s request to the US District Courts for the Central District of California for an order to appoint the US government as the custodian of the Equanimity.

The DOJ also sought an order for Low’s representatives to tender megayacht into the government’s custody in order for the vessel to be brought to the US for forfeiture purposes.

In the filing, the DOJ alleged that Low engaged in a “game of keep-away” upon knowing that the department sought to seize the Equanimity, by instructing the ship’s crew to turn off the Automatic Identification
System (AIS) and avoid the US and close US allies Australia and Singapore.

“The Equanimity’s captain was told to instead stick to other jurisdictions, like Vietnam and Cambodia, where the Equanimity was deemed ‘safe’.

“Low’s directives were apparently complied with,” said the DOJ.

Miscalculation

The DOJ said that Low’s agents had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to keep the yacht outside the hands of the US government.

“They have turned off the Equanimity’s AIS to make the yacht harder to detect. They have structured the Equanimity’s travels to avoid any jurisdictions where the Equanimity was likely to be seized.

“When they miscalculated in Indonesia and saw the yacht seized, they filed suit to resist the seizure and prevent Indonesia from surrendering the yacht to the government.

“And even when they have engaged with the government about a possible interlocutory sale of the yacht, they insisted that the yacht not be brought into the United States,” said the DOJ in the document sighted by Malaysiakini.

These machinations by Low’s agents, added the DOJ, had obstructed the warrant to seize the Equanimity, which will only have full effect when the ship is brought to US territory.

In arguing for an order to appoint the government the custodian of the Equanimity, the DOJ argued that Low’s agents “might not be trusted” to bring the yacht to the US on their own.

“After all, they have already obstructed the court’s arrest warrant (against the Equanimity) in rem. It is hardly far-fetched to think that they might also obstruct or defy an order to sail the yacht to the United States,” he said.

Previously, Multimedia and Communication Minister Salleh Said Keruak had claimed that there was “no tangible proof” that Low was the owner of the Equanimity, following the seizure of the vessel last month.

Last night, Salleh told a gathering of foreign correspondents that US DOJ filings on 1MDB won’t be considered “fake news”.

“You can quote them, what did they say, based on the filings. It is not considered fake news. It’s their views. Like DOJ, you quote them, what they said,” he said.

…more
Jho Low bought Equanimity with 1MDB funds – DOJ says it, again
27 March 2018 – malaysiakini

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