The auction of the superyacht Equanimity, which the Malaysian government had seized on grounds that it was allegedly acquired using stolen 1MDB funds, has received expressions of interest from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The government had put the superyacht on auction and it stopped receiving offer submissions at 5pm yesterday after a month of bidding.
"Given the extremely niche, specialist and elite market, within the short time the Equanimity was open for offer, we have received (expressions of) interest from around the world: Asia, Europe, Middle East, USA.
"Many have visited the Equanimity for viewing," the legal team representing the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) said in a statement today.
However, the legal team said it cannot reveal the value of the bid or its bidders until the sale is completed.
"The appraised value of the Equanimity remains confidential, as with the identity of the bidders, to protect the privacy of the bidders and the integrity of the process until the sale is completed.
"The nature of the judicial sale process is to preserve the confidence of the bidders that their identities and offers will not be disclosed until the sale is completed.
"This also serves to preserve confidence in the judicial sale process," it said.
The legal team said the High Court sheriff today unsealed the bids in its presence and that of Burgess, which serves as the bridge between the superyacht community and the Malaysian courts and vouches for the integrity of the process.
"A suitable balance between confidentiality and transparency is struck by having Burgess, from the yachting market, but a complete outsider to the court system, participate and observe the entire process.
"As the next step, the sheriff will communicate with the bidders. The public, the government of Malaysia and the bidders all want a successful completion.
"So let us afford the confidentiality it deserves for this to happen," it said.
The AGC had engaged Sitpah Selvaratnam, a leading maritime lawyer, to represent the chambers.