Malaysia will sell a luxury superyacht belonging to the alleged mastermind of the 1MDB financial scandal for about half its estimated value, officials said Wednesday.
Prosecutors claim the 91.5-meter (300 foot) Equanimity, was bought by Malaysian financier Jho Low with a portion of the nearly $5 billion allegedly stolen from 1MDB, the country's sovereign wealth fund set up by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
News of the sale comes as Najib is due to appear in court for the much delayed start of his trial over alleged corruption and abuses of power in connection with the scandal. Both he and Jho Low -- who remains at large -- deny any wrongdoing.
The Equanimity, bought by Jho Low in 2014, included an on-board hospital, space for 26 guests and 33 crew, as well as a sauna, steam room, and swimming pool, according to designers Oceanco.
It was valued at around $250 million, but will sell for the relative bargain price of $126 million, Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas said Wednesday. That is the largest amount so far recouped from the 1MDB scandal.
Thomas said that Genting Malaysia Berhad, a holdings firm, will purchase the yacht, which Malaysia seized in 2018 and has struggled to get rid off.
An auction last year fell through, and upkeep of the yacht was reportedly costing the government over $1 million a month, making its sale a pressing issue.
The superyacht is only one of many luxury items bought with money allegedly stolen from the 1MDB fund, including jewelry and handbags worth millions of dollars, paintings by Picasso and Basquiat, and property in New York and Los Angeles.
Embezzled money was also allegedly used to fund the production of "The Wolf of Wall Street," a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio about financial wrongdoings.
Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the 1MDB fund over the years, laundered through a variety of offshore and dummy accounts around the world.
Blame for the huge scandal has largely fallen on Najib, the former Prime Minister whose dramatic election loss in May last year set the scene for the corruption trial due to begin this week.
Within days of the stunning election loss, Najib and his wife were barred from leaving the country. Police soon raided their properties and seized millions of dollars in luxury goods allegedly linked to the 1MDB funds.
In July 2018 -- three years after the first 1MDB stories began emerging -- Najib was charged with four counts of corruption. The charge sheet was later expanded to cover dozens of other alleged crimes.
His wife, Rosmah Mansour, whose spending with funds allegedly embezzled from 1MDB had helped fuel public outrage, was arrested months later.
Both the former first couple's trials have been repeatedly delayed, however, as Najib has remained an important political figure and seen something of a reinvention as a "man of the people" critic of the new government.
Analysts said that Najib's best bet for avoiding jail, considering the vast array of charges against him, is to hope his allies are returned to power at the country's next election in 2023, if the trial is still going on then.