Following the seizure of Jho Low’s yacht last week, Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamed now has his sights set on the playboy financier’s jet. Does the jet have a fancy name? We’re not sure. How about Incarceration? Or Misadventure? They sound like pretty apt names to us.
But before it can enter our airspace, it’s got to be deemed airworthy first. We can’t have his jet falling apart before it even gets here. That would be a disaster.
According to daily The Star, the jet is currently in Singapore and will be brought to Malaysia “as soon as we can make it fly,” said Mahathir. New Straits Times wrote that it was impounded after landing at Singapore’s Seletar airport last year.
All things considered, we still don’t know where slippery guy Jho Low is hiding out. Onboard the SS Hideyaface maybe?
Jho Low’s yacht, the Equanimity has pulled into Indonesia’s Batam Island, where it will await a transfer of hands from Indonesian to Malaysian authorities.
Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “Calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation”, we reckon Jho Low will need all the equanimity he can get.
The Cayman Islands-registered Equanimity, believed to be worth some US$250 million, was seized in February off Bali.
The US Department of Justice alleges in civil lawsuits that huge sums of money were stolen from Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund – set up by former Prime Minister Najib Razak – in a huge fraud and money-laundering scam.
It is alleged that Low played a major role in the embezzlement of funds in the 1MDB scandal, which made headlines around the world. The whistleblower? Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
The fund and Najib, who lost an election earlier this year, deny any wrongdoing.
The suits allege US$1.7 billion worth of assets were allegedly bought with the stolen funds, which US officials are seeking to recover.
Those assets include the 300-foot (90-metre) yacht bought by Low, who was an unofficial adviser to 1MDB.
“Some arrangements are being made with the Indonesian authorities responsible (to take over the yacht),” a spokesman for Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s office told AFP.
“We will announce more once we have finalised the details,” he added, declining to elaborate further.
Bilateral ties between Malaysia and Indonesia are close with Mahathir visiting Jakarta in June, making it his first official tour of the region after a stunning election victory in May over Najib.
Low, a flamboyant playboy known for partying with Hollywood A-listers, is a close associate of Najib and allegedly conspired with him to loot the investment vehicle.
He was believed to have been sailing around Asia on the luxury yacht before it was seized.
Low – full name Low Taek Jho – whose exact whereabouts are unknown, condemned Malaysia’s action to take over the yacht saying it was “politically motivated”.
“The action of the Mahathir government in illegitimately taking this asset shows just how quickly the rule of law disappears in Mahathir’s regime,” according to a statement issued by his legal team.
“Actions like this make it increasingly clear that there is no jurisdiction where the issues in this case can be subject to a fair hearing thanks to a global media circus fuelled by politically motivated parties whose aim is to convict Mr Low in public arena.”
It’s rich that Low’s legal representation calls out the “illegitimate” seizure of the yacht but conveniently overlooks the illegitimate plundering of almost US$700 million from the nation’s wealth fund.
Will we see Jho Low resurface? Time (and copious amounts of investigative work, we’re sure) will tell.