DOJ Claims There's Another Yacht Worth RM2.96 Billion That Was Bought With 1MDB Funds
In a court filing on 30 June, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) claimed that the world's seventh-largest yacht worth RM2.96 billion was bought with monies linked to scandal-ridden 1MDB
The 147m-long yacht was formerly called 'Topaz' before being renamed as 'The A+', reported The Edge Markets citing The Straits Times.
The DOJ made the 208-page filing to a federal court in California in an attempt to obtain a ruling that allows the department to seize 1MDB assets, which includes two paintings and an apartment in Paris.
The Straits Times reported that it is unclear if the DOJ is seeking to claim a stake on the superyacht as part of ongoing efforts to forfeit assets from 1MDB or if Malaysia will be lodging a claim for the yacht.
Fugitive financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, had in the past rented the vessel at least five times between 2013 and 2014
It is learned that Low boarded the superyacht at Nice in France, Ibiza in Spain, New York in the US, and the coast around Brazil.
It is also revealed that the yacht was sold to a private company called Oceanus Maritime Ltd in August 2012. The company paid USD688 million (RM2.93 billion) for the vessel, reported Free Malaysia Today.
In the colossal sum, the DOJ filing stated that part of the monies came from a loan provided by Deutsche Bank.
Oceanus Maritime borrowed EUR400 million (RM1.93 billion) from the bank and it is alleged that two former International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) executives - Khadem Al Qubaisi and Badawy Al Husseiny - paid the loan in tranches through funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
The DOJ filing also noted that the beneficial owner of Oceanus Maritime is identified only as 'Emirati Official 1'
The hidden figure is known to be a United Arab Emirates (UAE) public official in a senior leadership role in Abu Dhabi-owned IPIC.
Meanwhile, many yacht portals reported that The A+ is owned by Sheikh Mansour Zayed Al Nahyan - a member of Abu Dhabi royalty and deputy prime minister of the UAE.
He also owns football club Manchester City.
Sheikh Mansour had in the past served as the chairman of IPIC during its dealings with 1MDB. The company is currently entangled in a multibillion-dollar dispute with Malaysia over its transactions with 1MDB.
The revelation over the funding of The A+ purchase will formally link 1MDB affairs to a top UAE official, reported The Straits Times.
This will help Malaysia in its current legal tussle with the UAE government, as the former is trying to recover assets from 1MDB in the London courts.
While the DOJ has some clues about The A+'s owner, very little is known about the vessel
According to Superyacht Times, the vessel was launched in 2012 by German shipyard Lürssen.
The shipbuilder did not release much information or photos of the yacht.
However, it is known to be the fourth-largest yacht ever built by the company - or seventh-largest in the world. It can carry 62 guests and up to 79 crew.
It measures 147m in length, about 38% longer than Tranquility - the yacht formerly owned by Jho Low.
On 3 April 2019, Tranquility - formerly known as Equanimity - was sold to Genting Malaysia at RM514.6 million: