Malaysia: Indonesia returns yacht at centre of graft probe

Clay Curtis
August 7, 2018

Malaysian anti-graft agents questioned embattled former premier Najib Razak on Tuesday ahead of his pre-trial hearing in court in connection with the multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

In the video, Dr Mahathir also expressed his gratitude to the Indonesian government for its cooperation in returning the seized super yacht to the Malaysian government.

The former prime minister turned up at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Academy in a four-car motorcade at about 5pm on Tuesday, where he was said to have received three notices on the new charges against him.

Cynthia Gabriel, a member of an official team set up to recover assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money, said that the Equanimity being handed over to Malaysia was "very significant".

Najib, who set up 1MDB in 2009 and served as chairman of its advisory board, was charged in Malaysia in July with corruption offences linked to the scandal.

Indonesian authorities impounded the boat on a request from the US Department of Justice, which is seeking to seize $1.7 billion of assets allegedly bought with money looted from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

The Prime Minister's Office, in confirming yesterday afternoon that the vessel had been handed over to Malaysia, said "the handing-over process between the [two] authorities was in Batam".

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"The Court issued a Warrant of Arrest against it", he said in a statement today.

After Mahathir announced Monday, August 6, that Indonesia was handing over the Equanimity, the DoJ sought to suspend ongoing legal action in the U.S. courts to take possession of the yacht. We want to know where they can get so much money to buy such an expensive yacht.

On Sunday, Low issued a statement through his lawyers condemning Malaysia's possession of the yacht, claiming the move was "politically motivated" and that the decision went against court rulings in the USA and Indonesia.

The DoJ has sought to take custody of the Equanimity, after it was seized by Indonesia in February at the request of USA authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB.

"If there is any party who wants to claim that this vessel belongs to them, they can show proof of ownership".

The US Department of Justice has said more than $4bn was misappropriated by high-level officials from the fund and their associates.

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