Indonesia’s seizure of the 300ft superyacht Equanimity and its subsequent handover to US authorities have been put on hold. Lawyers for Jho Low, its Malaysian financier owner, have challenged the seizure by Indonesian authorities and US law enforcement last month.
National police deputy director of economic crimes Daniel Silitonga told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that it has not handed the yacht over to the US because it is waiting for a court hearing. "We are facing legal issues that have to be resolved first," he said.
The US Department of Justice targeted Equanimity, valued at US$250m, as part of its decision to confiscate Low’s assets. Low used money stolen from 1MBD, a Malaysian fund for economic development, to pay for the yacht. The agency says Low laundered the money through Singapore, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the US.
Low’s attorneys told Malaysian media following the boat’s seizure that allegations against their client were “deeply flawed and politically motivated.” They added: “The DoJ is continuing with its pattern of global overreach — all based on entirely unsupported claims of wrongdoing."
The Department of Justice filed the case last year against Low, saying that more than US$4.5bn was stolen between 2009 and 2014 from 1MBD. The fund was set up by Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak to promote economic development, but much of the money was channeled through his personal bank accounts, according to the lawsuit.