The government of Indonesia today seized the 92m Oceanco Equanimity during its stay on the island of Bali. The yacht, valued at US$250m, is being sought by the US Justice Department as part of a probe into an alleged multibillion-dollar corruption by the Malaysian state investment fund 1MBD.
The Justice Department filed a civil case in June seeking recovery of US$540m, including Equanimity, from a fund established by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that was intended to promote economic development. The Justice Department says more than US$4.5bn was stolen from the fund.
Agung Setya, director of economic crimes at Indonesia's national police, told local media that authorities began working with US authorities a week ago. "We have legal confirmation that this asset is the result of a crime," he told MetroTV. "Our law stipulates that anyone who hides an asset resulting from the proceeds of crime is committing a money laundering crime." FBI agents were seen on board the yacht.
Jho Low, an associate of Najib, had no formal role at 1MBD. But the Justice Department said he exercised great influence over the organisation for his personal use. The US government accuses Low of stealing about US$400m from the fund. It also said that more than US$1bn from the fund was filtered through Razak’s personal bank accounts.