Malaysian ex-PM Najib to be charged with money laundering

Indonesia handed over the US$250 million Equanimity to Malaysia yesterday. — Screengrab from

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has thanked Indonesian President Joko Widodo and the Indonesian government for their assistance in handing over to Malaysia the "Equanimity" which the Indonesian authorities had seized.

According to The Star, The Equanimity, which authorities said was owned by fugitive businessman, Low Taek Jho, has arrived in the Indonesian island of Batam on Monday morning.

"On the vessel's expected arrival to Malaysia, it said: "[The] safest we can say is within 48 hours".

Malaysia is trying to recover up to $1.7 billion in assets, including the yacht, that the DoJ has alleged were bought with stolen 1MDB funds.

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak will be charged on Wednesday (Aug 8) with money laundering offences, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed in a statement on Tuesday.

The former prime minister arrived at 4.58pm, accompanied by lawyers.

In a civil suit seeking to seize assets allegedly bought with 1MDB money, the DoJ alleges that playboy financier Jho Low used about $250 million stolen from the fund to purchase the Cayman Islands-registered yacht.

The DoJ has sought to take custody of the Equanimity, after it was seized by Indonesia in February at the request of US authorities as part of a multi-billion dollar anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB.

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On Saturday, the Indonesian government agreed to hand over the yacht to Malaysia.

"The Court issued a Warrant of Arrest against it", he said in a statement today.

Low, who has so far evaded investigators, issued a statement through his U.S. lawyer on Monday protesting the handover of the yacht as an "illegal act" for ignoring court proceedings in the United States.

"We want to know where they obtained so much money to buy such an expensive yacht", he said in a Facebook video on Monday.

"If there is any party who wants to claim that this vessel belongs to them, they can show proof of ownership".

A total of $4.5 billion was allegedly misappropriated by top-level 1MDB officials and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the United States justice department.

All the charges relate to the scandal surrounding sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, which was set up and overseen by Najib.

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