Malaysia to sell 1MDB-linked superyacht for $126 million

The Cayman Islands-registered Equanimity has a pool, helicopter landing pad and cinema. The super-yacht was bought by financier Low Taek Jho with $250 million allegedly stolen from the 1MDB wealth fund. (AFP)
Updated 04 April 2019

Malaysia to sell 1MDB-linked superyacht for $126 million

  • The superyacht Equanimity is among assets allegedly bought by fugitive financier Low Taek Jho and his associates
  • Low Taek allegedly paid $250 million for the yacht

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will sell a luxury yacht linked to the 1MDB financial scandal for $126 million to a local company, authorities said on Wednesday, as the country’s toppled leader went on trial over the controversy.

The Equanimity — equipped with a pool, helicopter landing pad and cinema — was originally bought by playboy financier Low Taek Jho with $250 million allegedly stolen from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

It was seized by Indonesia last year and sent to Malaysia in August after the long-ruling government of Najib Razak was unexpectedly ejected from office in a historic election.

Malaysia’s new government, led by veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad, has been seeking to claw back looted funds, and has for months been seeking buyers for the vessel.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said the Cayman Islands-registered yacht was being sold to Genting Malaysia, which operates hotels, resorts and the country’s only legal casino.

“The government of Malaysia is pleased to announce that the superyacht Equanimity is to be sold to Genting Malaysia at the price of $126 million,” he said
in a statement, adding the purchase would be completed by the end of April.

Thomas said the offer was the best Malaysia got since the vessel was put up for sale five months ago, and the government had received many offers, including a few over $100 million.

Before it was seized off the Indonesian tourist island of Bali in February last year, the yacht was believed to have been used by Low — better known as Jho Low — to sail around Asia, as he sought to evade arrest over the 1MDB scandal.

Low, allegedly a mastermind in the looting of 1MDB, is still at large, although he has been charged in absentia in Malaysia over the scandal.

Known for partying with A-list celebrities and flaunting his wealth, Low was a close associate of Najib, who now faces 42 charges of corruption, abuse of power and money laundering over his role in the 1MDB saga.

Najib’s first trial over the corruption scandal began in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to seven charges of corruption and money laundering.

The 1MDB saga, which allegedly saw billions of dollars stolen by Najib and his cronies, played a huge part in the election loss of Najib. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.