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Wednesday, December 18, 2019
The luxury yacht and the see-through piano
Remember the luxury yacht that was seized by the Department of Justice in Bali?
It was a story of theft and spending on a gargantuan scale, absolutely riveting and worthy of a film.
The mysterious figure behind it was a Chinese entrepreneur named Jho Low. He, with co-conspirators in Goldman Sachs, spirited away billions from a Malaysian development fund, 1MDB, bringing about the fall of a government and the disgrace of a prime minister.
The yacht, Equanimity, was sold by the Department to a Malaysian resort- and casino-owning company, the Genting Group, which gave it the somewhat inappropriate moniker Tranquility. It costs them $126 million USD -- a bargain, considering that Jho Low paid twice that when he commissioned and launched it.
If you are anxious to be envious, here is an assortment of pictures. If you are anxious to charter her, then contact the company.
And, as for Jho Low, he is lying low in China.
But what about the rest of the story? What happened to the rest of the loot?
Back in March 2018, I made a list:
With the stolen money, Jho Low bought:
A Bombardier 5000 private jet
A Van Gogh painting
Two paintings by Monet
Two paintings by Picasso (one of which he gave to Leonardo Dicaprio for his birthday)
A penthouse in the Walker Tower in New York
A Laurel mansion in Beverly Hills
The Quentas townhouse in London
A penthouse in Stratton Street, London
A 22-carat pink diamond necklace
And the yacht Equanimity
Now, the Van Gogh and the Monet are in storage in Switzerland. The Marlon Brando Oscar statuette is in a federal warehouse in Texas.
The two penthouses and mansion are problematical, because Jho Low tied them up in trusts, "and Mr. Low “does not consider it proper for any government to seize property belonging to the trusts or himself,” said Robin Rathmell, Mr. Low’s lawyer.
The pink diamond necklace has disappeared, and Mrs. Najib, for whom it was purchased, swears she has never seen it.
And the see-through piano, which was given by Jho Low to Miranda Kerr, an Australian super-model, is stuck in her house because it won't fit through the door. (How it got inside in the first place is a conundrum.)
The Bombardier has been grounded, but needed a $25,000 engine test first.
And, as I said, the luxury yacht was sold at a bargain price, because all the time it was afloat, the Department had to pay for a crew.
Various heads have fallen, though not tht of Elliot Broidy, who was paid (presumably by Jho Low) to lobby President Trump to halt the investigation into the theft and laundering of the billions meant for the Malaysian people. There was also an employee of the Department of Justice, who had helped the thieves funnel the money into the United States. And then, there is the man who worked at Goldman Sachs who helped funnel the loot.