MALAYSIA is not involved in the US Department of Justice (DoJ) seizure of the luxury yacht Equanimity linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Indonesian police told Malaysiakini.
Indonesia central police deputy director of economic and special crimes Daniel Silitonga told the news portal that they are not in contact with Malaysian authorities over the yacht, which was seized off Bali last week.
Silitonga said “in principle”, Indonesia was only in contact with the US, where the DoJ has filed civil forfeiture suits to seize more than US$1 billion (RM3.9 billion) in assets. In all, the DoJ believes that US$4.5 billion has been misappropriated from 1MDB.
The US$250 million yacht is on the list of assets in DoJ’s filings and is said to be owned by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, a close associate of Najib Razak, who was involved in 1MDB in its early days when it was started by the Malaysian prime minister.
Malaysia’s inaction over 1MDB and the yacht, now that it has been seized in a neighbouring country, has renewed criticism of Najib’s administration.
Former cabinet minister Rafidah Aziz blasted the Malaysian authorities for not being proactive, questioning why they could not locate the yacht when she had spotted it while on a diving trip in Thailand over a year ago.
Najib has denied all allegations of corruption involving 1MDB and the scandals surrounding it, and described the US$681 million of the state investor’s funds that were channeled to his accounts as a “donation” from the Saudi royal family which he has returned.
But the spotlight remains on Malaysia which has absolved 1MDB of any wrongdoing and is putting the fund through a rationalisation exercise to repay its debts, even as it is under investigation in several countries.
Silitonga also said that Indonesian authorities were not investigating Low and were only involved in locating and seizing the Equanimity based on a formal request from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Malaysia’s communications minister Salleh Said Keruak recently said there was no proof that Low owned the super yacht.