Malaysia to sell 1MDB-linked superyacht for $170 million to Genting
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will sell a superyacht allegedly bought with stolen funds from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to casino operator Genting Malaysia for US$126 million (S$170 million), in the first major asset sale by Kuala Lumpur to recover billions lost from the fund.
The Equanimity is among assets allegedly bought by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and his associates with money taken from the fund, US and Malaysian investigators said.
Jho Low, as he is known, had allegedly paid US$250 million for the yacht, which has an interior clad in marble and gold leaf, a spa, sauna, swimming pool, movie theatre and helipad.
Malaysia set a minimum price tag of US$130 million when it put the vessel up for sale in October but struggled to find a buyer.
"Many offers were received... and a few were over US$100 million," Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement yesterday, adding that Genting would pay the US$126 million by the end of this month.
The government would save US$4.4 million in agent's commission since it negotiated directly with Genting Malaysia, he added.
A spokesman for Low called the sale "a failed PR stunt", saying Malaysia had accepted a "bargain basement sale price".
Genting said the acquisition would give it "a unique and competitive edge for its premium customers business". The purchase will not affect this year's earnings, it said.
1MDB, founded by former prime minister Najib Razak, is being investigated by at least six countries for money laundering and corruption.
Malaysian police have issued an arrest warrant and filed criminal charges against Low, but his whereabouts are unknown. - REUTERS
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