December 14, 2018 / 7:18 AM / 7 months ago

Superyacht in Malaysia scandal can be yours for $130 million

FILE PHOTO: Seized luxury yacht Equanimity, belonging to fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, is brought to Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang, Malaysia August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Lai Seng Sin/File Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia has set a $130 million (103.07 million pounds) pricetag for a superyacht seized from a fugitive financier wanted in connection with a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, a government lawyer said on Friday.

The Equanimity is among $1.7 billion in assets allegedly bought by financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, and his associates with money taken from the fund, the U.S. Department of Justice has said.

Jho Low allegedly paid $250 million for the yacht which has an interior clad in marble and gold leaf, a spa and sauna, a 20-metre (66-ft) swimming pool, a movie theatre and helipad.

The Admiralty Court set a guide price of $130 million for the 300-ft (91-m) yacht and the government will consider bids around that price, government lawyer Jeremy Joseph said.

The yacht was appraised by Winterbothams, an independent marine consultancy appointed by the court.

Malaysia and the United States are investigating how billions of dollars went missing from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), with some of the money used to buy the yacht, a private jet, Picasso paintings, jewellery and real estate.

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 was “illegal and costly.”

Reporting by Liz Lee and Rozanna Latiff; editing by Darren Schuettler

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