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Jho Low’s 1MDB-linked superyacht sold for US$126m to Genting
[KUALA LUMPUR] A superyacht seized by Malaysia's government from fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, a central figure in the 1MDB scandal, has found a buyer in casino company Genting Malaysia Bhd.
A Malaysian court approved the sale of the vessel for US$126 million, which Genting must pay by the end of April, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said in a statement on Wednesday. While the price is lower than its US$130 million valuation, the sale marks the largest amount of money that the country has recovered from 1MDB, he said.
The deal "records a high-water mark for our judicial system in ensuring that market value is secured for a vessel sold through the processes of Court, without any discount," Mr Thomas said in the statement. "It is even more commendable that this is achieved in a very sophisticated high-end superyacht sale, where the pool of buyers is extremely small."
The government had struggled to find buyers for the 300-foot luxury ship after an earlier auction failed. The yacht was seized in Indonesian waters last year as part of Malaysia's effort to recoup about US$4.5 billion allegedly embezzled from 1MDB.
The scandal surrounding the troubled state fund has reached the highest levels of Malaysia's government and ensnared Goldman Sachs Group Inc in its first criminal case. Former Prime Minister Najib Razak is set to attend his first day of trial on Wednesday to face seven of 42 charges linked to his role in 1MDB. He has pleaded not guilty to all the allegations.
Low, who has also denied any wrongdoing, remains at large. He faces charges in Malaysia including money laundering.
Genting Malaysia is part of a global conglomerate that operate casinos, resorts and cruise lines in the US to Australia, as well property and palm oil plantations. The group runs Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore that boasts a Universal Studios complex and the luxury Star Cruises line in Hong Kong.