The news reports published about the seizure of luxury yacht Equanimity owned by Penang-born businessperson Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) are examples of "fake news", said Multimedia and Communication Minister Salleh Said Keruak today.
In a statement, the Umno lawmaker said the opposition have relied on "unverified, unproven" allegations about the vessel, alleging it is owned by Jho Low, and that it was purchased using 1MDB funds, when in reality, the source of the claims are contained in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) civil lawsuit seeking to recover funds allegedly siphoned from 1MDB, which has been put on hold since August last year.
"Apart from the bare allegations contained in the lawsuit, the US DOJ has not shown any tangible proof that Jho Low is the actual owner of the yacht, or that it was purchased with funds from 1MDB.
"Furthermore, the US DOJ has yet to prove any of its allegations in the court of law, despite nearly two years having passed since its sensationalised press conference of July 2016," said the minister.
According to Salleh, the DOJ had alleged in its suits that the source of funds was Aabar BVI, which the DOJ had alleged to have business dealings with Jho Low.
"The directors of Aabar BVI were Khadem Al Qubaisy and Mohammed Al Badawy, formerly senior employees in the IPIC group.1MDB has repeatedly clarified that while it did have business dealings with Aabar BVI, 1MDB has not had any business dealings with Jho Low and more importantly, 1MDB is not a party to the DOJ lawsuit," he said.
Salleh then accused the opposition led by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and "dominated by DAP", of using fake news and recycling unproven allegations as their primary political weapon to garner votes.