THE Malaysian government will be selling the Equanimity, the Superyacht linked to the ill-famed 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal for a floor price of US$130 million, at nearly half its original value.
A government-appointed lawyer, S. Sitpah said the minimum price was set based on an appraisal by Winterbothams Limited, a UK-based independent naval architect firm.
Sitpah told The Star the government had obtained a court order allowing the sale, which would be done through negotiations.
“Now there is a guide price for potential buyers,” Sitpah was quoted saying.
The lawyer said the government was looking to complete the sale by March 31 next year.
In October, the government announced the first phase of the yacht’s auction as part of its asset recovery measures related to the multi-billion dollar 1MDB scandal.
“The first phase received bids but these were not of acceptable degree, therefore we have to move into the second phase,” Sitpah said.
Equipped with a Turkish bath, helicopter landing pad and a history of parties attended by A-list celebrities, the Equanimity was returned to Malaysia after it was seized by Indonesian authorities.
The US Department of Justice has said the Equanimity is among US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought by 1MDB financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, and his associates with money taken from the fund.
Jho Low allegedly paid US$250 million for the 300-ft (91-m) yacht which has an interior clad in marble and gold leaf, a spa and sauna, a 20-metre (66-ft) swimming pool, and even a movie theatre.
Lawsuits have identified Low as a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, but his whereabouts are unknown. He has said the seizure and sale of the yacht were “illegal and costly, according to Reuters.