Acting on a request from the FBI made in late February, Indonesian officials have seized the luxury yacht Equanimity at Benoa Harbor in Bali, Indonesia. Investigators suspect the yacht was bought with the proceeds of embezzlement from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian government-owned investment company. The yacht was allegedly bought to launder money during the 1MDB scheme.
U.S. court documents reveal that Equanimity is registered in the Cayman Islands and was purchased by Malaysian businessman Jho Low. While Lo did not hold any official position in the Malaysian government, he is purported to have acted in a senior advising capacity, and to have made high-level financial decisions with regards to 1MDB.
There were reportedly 29 crew members aboard the yacht when Indonesian officials seized it. While none of the crew members have been arrested as of yet, officials have questioned them as part of the investigation.
According to documents obtained by Asian Correspondent from a DOJ spokeswoman, the DOJ filed a letter of complaint on June 15, 2017 seeking the seizure of a list of valuable assets implicated in the 1MDB probe, among them the Equanimity and the ownership rights to several blockbuster Hollywood movies, such as The Wolf of Wall Street. On June 16, a judge for the United States District Court for the Central District of California had issued a warrant of arrest “in rem” (meaning the warrant is issued against an object rather than an individual) for Equanimity. Indonesian officials later received a request on February 21 to help with executing the warrant. An Indonesian national police senior detective, Daniel Silitonga, has told press that the handing over of the yacht, valued at about $250 million USD, is “in the process of being done.”
The International Enforcement Law Reporter has covered the 1MDB scandal in depth. For more of our coverage on 1MDB, see here.