PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Interest in the superyacht Equanimity, once owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, has come from around the world, with bidders placing a US$1 million (S$1.37 million) deposit to qualify for the auction.
A statement from the legal team representing the Attorney General's Chambers said that when the month-long bidding process closed on Wednesday (Nov 28) evening, yacht specialist Burgess Yachts, the sole broker for the sale, had seen interest from buyers in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.
"Given the extremely niche, specialist and elite market, within the short time that the Equanimity was open for the offer, we have received interest from around the world.
"Many have visited the superyacht for viewing," it added.
On Thursday, the sealed bids for the superyacht were opened by the Sheriff of the High Court as part of the judicial sale process in the presence of the legal team and Burgess.
It took place at the Jalan Duta court complex at 3pm.
"We are not at liberty to reveal the number or value of these offers," it said.
"But we are pleased with the way the entire process has been conducted.
"There has been tremendous support and facilitation by the government, the court and Burgess in this process of sale."
There is no published "asking price" or reserve price for the yacht.
Although the bidders would have named their price to acquire the vessel, the High Court has the right to reject the highest bid if this fails to match the court's appraised value of the vessel.
The statement said the appraised value of Equanimity remained confidential as with the identity of the bidders to protect their privacy and the integrity of the process until the completion of the sale.
It also said that the Sheriff would be communicating with the bidders while Burgess, an outsider and from the yachting market, would observe the entire process as part of a balance between confidentiality and transparency.
It is understood that if a bidder successfully secures the bid, the yacht will be handed over to the new owner in the next two to three weeks.
If there are no takers, Malaysia can initiate a second bid or negotiate directly with a potential buyer who has placed a "sufficiently high" bid.
The 91.5m Equanimity, which reportedly has a Turkish bath, a swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad, is now docked at the navy's Region 3 headquarters in Langkawi.
Equanimity was seized off the coast of Bali by Indonesia in February at the request of the US authorities as part of a multi-billion-dollar corruption investigation into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
The Indonesian government then handed over the vessel to the Malaysian authorities in August.