The auction, where 91.5-meter yacht Equanimity will be sold, ends on November 28. This is reported by Bloomberg agency.
The vessel belonged to the Malaysian financier Jho Low. The businessman is suspected of embezzling $4.5 billion from the national fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and laundering this money through the purchase of luxury goods in various countries, including the United States. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak were also involved in the scandal.
Bidding for Equanimity, which is also believed to have been bought with stolen money, began Oct. 29. Since the sale of the boat is on a court order, the auction is being held behind closed doors. Buyers' bids are forwarded to the sheriff of the Malaysian High Court, who also has the Equanimity's appraised value and court-approved price.
Ong Chee Kwan of the law firm of Christopher & Lee Ong, which represents Malaysia and 1MBD at the auction, could not predict how much the boat would sell for.
« All I can say is as high as possible»," he told Bloomberg.
It is believed the deal may break the record for the most expensive yacht auction sale. Today that record belongs to the 72-metre Lürssen Apoise, which went under the hammer for $34.75 million in 2010.
The brokerage Burgess, which handles the sale, said both local and foreign investors were showing interest in the boat.
Ong Chee Kwan added that some of these potential buyers have already been contacted for a deposit of $1 million for the privilege of viewing the boat.
The sheriff of the Supreme Court will select the best offer of potential buyers. The outcome will be a buyer who will receive what brokers at Burgess have articulated as «an internationally recognized, unencumbered title to the yacht». It will take a few days to complete all the necessary paperwork, after which the new owner will be able to celebrate the purchase.
However, another outcome is also possible. If all bids turn out to be lower than the court-ordered amount, Malaysia will probably have to consider another option to sell the boat, and quicker.
The Equanimity has already cost Malaysian taxpayers more than $835,000.
While Equanimity itself may only be of interest to those who have a quarter of a billion dollars lining their pockets, its smooth sale, according to Bloomberg, could ease the pressure on incumbent Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is looking for ways to fulfill his election pledge to make up for the funds stolen from 1MDB.
Equanimity is only part of the treasure trove of property and assets that Lowe owned that are now the subject of legal disputes and being confiscated around the world. The U.S. has filed lawsuits to forfeit $1.7 billion worth of assets. The assets were allegedly purchased with money stolen from 1MDB, including a heart-shaped diamond worth $1.29 million and a diamond pendant worth$3.8 million that Lowe presented to Australian model Miranda May Kerr, as well as a $3.8 million Picasso painting that Lowe presented to actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
The superyacht Oceanco Equanimity is registered inthe Cayman Islands and is valued at $250 million. She was first presented at the Monaco Boat Show in 2014and became the show's largest yacht that year.
This is the world's first private superyacht designed in accordance with the requirements for commercial vessels of the Passenger Yacht Code. The PYC standard allows for up to 36 passengers at a time. The interiors, designed by Andrew Winch, highlight the Asian roots of her owner. Bamboo and gold leaf are among the materials used.