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Why hide if Equanimity is not yours, Amanah MP asks Jho Low

Published:  |  Modified:

Sepang MP Hanipa Maidin  (above) today urged minister Salleh Said Keruak to advise businessperson Jho Low to "come out of hiding" and deny that the luxury yacht Equanimity was his.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, the Amanah lawmaker said Salleh's remark yesterday that there was no proof that the vessel was owned by the Penang-born Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, was "extremely funny".

Going by Salleh's logic, Hanipa added, it does not make sense for Low to still be in hiding.

"Why does YB (Salleh) want to be the spokesperson for Jho Low?" he asked.

Hanipa said the minister's remark also made it seem as if the Indonesian authorities, who worked in collaboration with the United State's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seize the vessel in Bali on Wednesday, did not know what they were doing.

He pointed out that the Indonesian Criminal Investigation Bureau's director of economic and special crimes Agung Setya had clarified that the seizure was approved by the country's government.

"When there is a court order, logically, there should have been an application beforehand. That means, logically, evidence of the boat's ownership and its ties to 1MDB and the lawsuit by the (US) DOJ (Department of Justice) must have been submitted as well. That is the mechanism of the legal process in courts, worldwide," Hanipa said.

The DOJ in its assets forfeiture suit claimed that Low had commissioned the superyacht to be built at an estimated cost of US$250 million (RM1 billion), using the money it claimed had been misappropriated from 1MDB to the tune of some US$4.5 billion.

It is seeking to recover approximately US$1.7 billion in assets allegedly acquired in the US using these stolen funds.

Hanipa, who is also a lawyer by profession, said that although the DOJ suit has yet to be tried in the court, this does not mean that the individuals named in the suit could keep mum.

Therefore, he urged Low to appoint a lawyer and fight the allegations against him in the US courts.

"If the (DOJ) suit is cancelled, (only then) will the 1MDB saga be considered to have ended in the US," Hanipa said.

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