Malaysia's former PM Najib questioned ahead of pre-trial hearing

  • Malaysia's former PM Najib questioned ahead of pre-trial hearing

Malaysia's former PM Najib questioned ahead of pre-trial hearing

"We are happy since the Equanimity yacht has been handed over to us by Indonesia", Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who is on a tour to Japan, said in a Facebook post.

"The Mahathir regime's illegal act today, ignoring court rulings in legal proceedings in the US and Indonesia, prove he has no interest in a fair and just process", he said in a statement Monday.

The Cayman Islands-flagged Equanimity was first seized in the Indonesian holiday venue of Bali in February at the request of US authorities investigating 1MDB.

1MDB is at the centre of money-laundering probes in at least six countries, including the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.

"We believe that this vessel is owned by Malaysia as it was bought by certain quarters using stolen Malaysian funds".

A total of $4.5 billion was allegedly misappropriated by top-level 1MDB officials and their associates, according to civil lawsuits filed by the USA justice department.

As a result of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties ("MLAs") between Indonesia, the U.S. and Malaysia which were activated recently, sensitive and delicate negotiations were conducted at the highest levels of different agencies in the three countries to accomplish this feat.

"At the end of the day, the yacht must be sold off" so that Malaysia can recover as much money as possible from it, Lim said.

Mahathir has said anyone who wants to claim ownership of the yacht must show proof that the vessel was not bought with stolen funds.

He also said that he did not know who the owner of the luxury vessel was.

Low's whereabouts are unknown but he has previously denied wrongdoing.

A luxury yacht allegedly paid for with funds from a multi-billion-dollar scandal that helped topple Malaysia's government arrived outside Kuala Lumpur Tuesday, August 7, with authorities hoping it will help in their prosecution of the country's disgraced former leader.

Mahathir ousted his predecessor and former protege Najib Razak in an election in May, and immediately launched an investigation into 1MDB. Following the handover of the yacht to Malaysia, the Justice Department has sought to suspend legal proceedings to determine what Malaysia plans to do with the vessel.

Najib, his cronies and family members are accused of stealing huge sums from 1MDB in a sophisticated fraud that spanned the globe. He and the fund have denied any wrongdoing.