Broker says 20 enquiries about Equanimity

Interest in the Equanimity superyacht have come from the Middle East, Russia and other parts of Asia, according to Burgess that is handling the auction of the vessel bought using allegedly stolen 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds.

Broker disclosed sources of potential buyers for the yacht listed at US$130 million (RM543 million) or around US$100 million less than its price when new.

Burgess’ lead broker for the sale, Rupert Nelson, told the news outlet that some of those interested in the superyacht were among the biggest players in the industry, but conceded that many were reluctant to travel here to view the yacht.

“Some of them are big household names in yachting terms. Some will be household names elsewhere as well,” he was quoted as saying.

Various authorities concluded that the Equanimity had belonged to fugitive financier Low Taek Jho before authorising its seizure last year.

It was then handed to Malaysia where an admiralty court concluded that 1MDB was the rightful owner of the vessel and that the Malaysian government was authorised to auction it off.

The court also set an expected price of US$130 million the 91m vessel after no successful bids emerged last October.

Interested bidders must submit a US$1 million deposit before entering a bid with the Sheriff of the High Court of Malaya.

Sitpah Selvaratnam, a shipping lawyer appointed to act for the Attorney-General’s Chambers, explained that the deposit was to help weed out opportunistic bidders looking to land a bargain.

“As it stands now the mandate is we are not really negotiating for anything below US$100 million.

“It’s clearly not a fire sale. You’re going to get what she’s worth,” he said.

Last year, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government hoped to sell the vessel as soon as possible due to the high maintenance costs, which had amounted to RM3.5 million just from August to November.