Malaysia's former PM Najib to be charged with money laundering

Malaysia's former PM Najib to be charged with money laundering

"We believe that this yacht belongs to the Malaysian government because it was bought with Malaysia's money that was stolen", Mahathir said, citing an investigation by the US Justice Department.

THE Equanimity was seized under the laws of Malaysia, said Attorney-General Tommy Thomas hours after the luxury yacht docked at the Terminal Boustead Cruise Centre in Port Klang this afternoon. Cynthia Gabriel, a member of an official team set up to recover assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money, said that the Equanimity being handed over to Malaysia was "very significant".

The yacht was purportedly owned by businessman Low Taek Jho, the alleged mastermind in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

"We would like to express profound gratitude to the Governments of Indonesia and the United States, especially the Republic of Indonesia Police (POLRI), in extending cooperation and collaboration to enable this to be accomplished", he said.

The Equanimity is expected to arrive at Port Klang on Pulau Indah, Selangor today, according to news reports, after Indonesian and Malaysian authorities reached an agreement and conducted the handover of the yacht in Batam.

In April, an Indonesian court ruled the yacht was wrongfully impounded and instructed authorities to release it back to its owners.

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"We have to maintain the good relations between the two countries", he 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.

Indonesian police subsequently seized the boat again in July following a formal request for legal assistance from the US.

Malaysia's new government has shut down a Saudi-backed anti-terrorism center, just over a year after it was launched by the kingdom's ruling monarch during a visit here last year.

On Sunday, Low issued a statement through his lawyers condemning Malaysia's possession of the yacht, claiming the move was "politically motivated" and that the decision went against court rulings in the U.S. and Indonesia.

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

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