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Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak to be charged with money laundering

Indonesia handed over the US$250 million Equanimity to Malaysia yesterday. — Screengrab from

He also said that he did not know who the owner of the luxury vessel was.

The US Department of Justice says an estimated $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB by high-level officials of the fund and their associates.

In a civil suit seeking to seize assets allegedly bought with 1MDB money, the DoJ alleges that playboy financier Jho Low used about $250 million stolen from the fund to purchase the Cayman Islands-registered yacht.

"At the end of the day, the yacht must be sold off" so that Malaysia can recover as much money as possible from it, Lim said.

Mr Low issued a statement through his USA attorney on Monday protesting the handover of the yacht as an "illegal act" for ignoring court proceedings in the United States.

"I am happy that the Equanimity yacht has been delivered to Malaysia by the Indonesian authorities".

A statement issued by the Malaysian government on Tuesday thanked the Indonesian and American governments for their cooperation.

It is learnt that the yacht has been sighted off the coast of Pengerang, Johor, as it rounded Singapore to head towards Port Klang.

Najib said the KSCIP was the brainchild of Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud and that the Malaysian government when he was Prime Minister welcomed the setting up of the centre as it was deemed to be good for both countries.

"We have to maintain the good relations between the two countries", he said. The seizure was later declared invalid and without legal basis, and so was nullified based on technical grounds. However, the Indonesian government seized it again in July.

In November previous year, then Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein defended the setting up of the KSCIP in Putrajaya, against its detractors who were concerned that Malaysia might have painted a bull's-eye on itself for the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

Low, who has so far evaded investigators, issued a statement through his USA lawyer on Monday protesting the handover of the yacht as an "illegal act" for ignoring court proceedings in the United States.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Aug 7, 2018.