Indonesia seizes yacht wanted by US in probe of Malaysian fund

Indonesian officials prepare to board the luxury yacht ‘Equanimity’, reportedly worth some 250 million USD and owned by Jho Low, a former unofficial adviser to the Malaysian fund 1MDB, at Benoa Bay in Bali. A luxury yacht sought by US authorities was seized off the Indonesian tourist island of Bali, with the vessel reportedly linked to a corruption scandal at Malaysia’s state investment fund. (AFP)
Updated 28 February 2018

Indonesia seizes yacht wanted by US in probe of Malaysian fund

JAKARTA: Indonesia has seized a luxury yacht on the tourist island of Bali that is wanted by US authorities as part of a probe into alleged multibillion-dollar corruption at Malaysian state investment fund 1MBD.
Metro TV on Wednesday showed local police and what it identified as FBI officers on board the sleek 92-meter (300 foot) vessel, Equanimity, moored off Bali.
In June, the US Justice Department filed a civil case seeking recovery of $540 million in assets, including the yacht, that it says were stolen from 1MDB, a fund set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that was intended to promote economic development. Overall, the Justice Department says more than $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund.
Agung Setya, director of economic crimes at Indonesia’s national police, told Metro TV that local authorities began working with US authorities a week ago in relation to the vessel. He said it was located on Tuesday in waters off the island of Lombok, which neighbors Bali, and then shifted to Bali’s Tanjung Benoa waters.
“We have legal confirmation that this asset is the result of a crime,” he said. “Our law stipulates that anyone who hides an asset resulting from the proceeds of crime is committing a money-laundering crime.”
Setya said the police had secured a court order to seize Equanimity and are questioning its 34 crew. He said the yacht is worth about $250 million.
The Justice Department alleges the yacht was bought by Jho Low, an associate of Najib who had no formal role at 1MBD but considerable influence over the organization, for his personal use. It was among the more than $400 million that the department accuses Low of stealing himself.
Najib was embroiled in the scandal when it emerged that nearly $1 billion had passed through his personal bank accounts. He and the fund deny any wrongdoing.
Yacht chartering sites say Equanimity has an Asian-themed interior, a swimming pool, movie theater, helicopter landing pad and other luxury amenities.


China suspends planned tariffs on some US goods

Updated 15 December 2019

China suspends planned tariffs on some US goods

  • Chinese tariffs were supposed to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to vehicles and auto parts
  • Beijing agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next 2 years

SHANGHAI: China has suspended additional tariffs on some US goods that were meant to be implemented on Dec. 15, the State Council’s customs tariff commission said on Sunday, after the world’s two largest economies agreed a “phase one” trade deal on Friday.
The deal, rumors and leaks over which have gyrated world markets for months, reduces some US tariffs in exchange for what US officials said would be a big jump in Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.
China’s retaliatory tariffs, which were due to take effect on Dec. 15, were meant to target goods ranging from corn and wheat to US made vehicles and auto parts.
Other Chinese tariffs that had already been implemented on US goods would be left in place, the commission said in a statement issued on the websites of government departments including China’s finance ministry. “China hopes, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, to work with the United States, to properly resolve each other’s core concerns and promote the stable development of US-China economic and trade relations,” it added.
Beijing has agreed to import at least $200 billion in additional US goods and services over the next two years on top of the amount it purchased in 2017, the top US trade negotiator said Friday.
A statement issued by the United States Trade Representative also on Friday said the United States would leave in place 25% tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.