In March, SuperyachtNews reported that 91.5m M/Y Equanimity had been seized in Bali following links to an ongoing fraud investigation. The United States’ Department of Justice has been investigating alleged illicit behaviour of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and various business associates since 2015, and the alleged owner of Equanimity, prominent Malaysian financier Jho Low, has been named as a key figure in the US lawsuits.
Following the yacht's seizure in February 2018, local media outlets have now reported that a South Jakarta district court has ruled that the yacht has no link with 1MDB and that the vessel can thus be returned to its owner. In a statement, Indonesia Special Economic Crimes Unit Director Dr Rudy Heriyanto Adi said that the police would follow the decision made by the court.
“Based on the ruling made by the South Jakarta State Court, which is final, the police will obey the order to return the yacht to its owner, Equanimity Cayman Limited,” he commented. “Based on the facts of the proceedings, it was found that the rightful owner of the superyacht Equanimity is Equanimity Cayman Limited [and] that there is no link between the superyacht and 1MDB.”
Complicated or ambiguous ownership structures are not uncommon in the superyacht sector. As Adam Ramlugon, managing partner of Bargate Murray, pointed out in the previous coverage of the incident, one of the reasons for placing a yacht in the ownership of a company or other such structure is that a beneficial owner can limit their liability. However, such structures can also be a vehicle for less scrupulous individuals to obscure their relationship to a particular yacht, perhaps to deliberately make it difficult to link them to it.
According to MarineTraffic at the time of writing, M/Y Equanimity has not left Indonesia.
If you've found this story to be 'a report worth reading', and you would like to enjoy access to even more articles, insight and information from The Superyacht Group, then you may well be interested in our VIP print subscription offer. We are inviting industry VIPs to register for a complimentary subscription to our print portfolio, which includes the most insightful information on the state of the superyacht market. To see if you qualify for our VIP subscription package, please click here to fill in an application form