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Mahathir responds to Jho Low's comments about 1MDB-linked yacht

Dr Mahathir and Jho Low clash over Malaysia's seizure of yacht allegedly bought by the fugitive businessman with money stolen from 1MDB

PETALING JAYA Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has responded to fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho's allegation that he was "putting words into the mouth" of the US government in relation to Malaysia's seizure of the Equanimity superyacht.

Low, also known as Jho Low, claimed yesterday that Malaysia was "putting words into the mouth" of the US authorities by saying the US$250 million (S$343 million) yacht's arrival in the country last week was after negotiations with the Americans.

Asked for his comment on Low's statement, Dr Mahathir sarcastically replied: "I am very proud that I can put words in the mouth of the US government. I must be greater than (US President Donald) Trump."

"You can ask the US authorities whether I put words into their mouths, whether I typed out the words and shoved it down their throat," he added.

Dr Mahathir was responding to questions by the media after visiting an art exhibition that showcased more than 100 artworks inspired by his legacy at the Perdana University in Serdang yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, who is the founding chancellor of the university, attended the event with his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

He was also asked whether Malaysia was trying to get back a jet suspected of being bought with money stolen from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

According to media reports, the private jet was impounded in Singapore last year.

FOR SALE

On Saturday, Dr Mahathir said the Equanimity would be sold as soon as possible to recover stolen money.

Dr Mahathir said the US Department of Justice had assured Malaysia that the yacht belongs to Low, bought using money stolen from 1MDB.

Responding to Dr Mahathir's remarks that the US had proven its case against Equanimity, a spokesman for Low said that he had been declared guilty by Dr Mahathir's regime before a single piece of evidence has been produced in US courts.

According to Low's spokesman, the US has not proven anything.

"The truth is this: The US filed unproven allegations in a civil forfeiture complaint more than a year ago - then halted the proceedings before any party had any meaningful chance to respond," said the spokesman.

"The allegations have ricocheted around the world for more than a year, repeated thousands of times.

"It is clear that the Malaysian government is lying and putting words into the US' mouth. These repeated misstatements by Malaysia are embarrassing the US, which has stressed it has no involvement in the illegal seizure of the vessel and will update the US court on Aug 17."

The Equanimity is docked at the Boustead Cruise Centre in Pulau Indah, Port Klang.

- THE STAR/ANN

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