KUALA LUMPUR — March 7, 2018: Last week’s seizure of super yacht Equanimity by the Indonesian authorities at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) impairs the integrity of the U.S. courts and violates its constitution, a Malaysia-born Brisbane-based lawyer said today.
According to Quintin Rozario, over the years many commentators and critics had expressed concern over the Civil Forfeiture Act used by the DoJ to legitimise the seizure of the yacht which it said is owned by Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho or better known as Jho Low.
He pointed out that while the U.S. Constitution is based on the principle of equality and justification applicable to the implementation and enforceability of all its laws, the Act is being applied as a blunt instrument of oppression and economic warfare by successive U.S. administrations to enforce their will on smaller nations.
“The fact is the DoJ is seeking to confiscate property belonging to certain individuals said to have swindled 1MDB and not the property of 1MDB itself. That excuse in itself is suspect when one considers that 1MDB was not the complainant against these individuals or a complainant at all.
“1MDB is the only party with legal standing to raise a complaint and to bring an action for recovery of its assets in such matters,” he is quoted as saying by Bernama.
The lawyer said although the Act is sufficient to merely suspect a defendant of having committed a crime and to make the connection between the seized property and the commission of a criminal offence to justify the forfeiture, only a court of law has the power to decide if a crime has been committed.
Rozario described the Act as a bad law and said no civilised nation ought to give credence to its enforcement or cooperate with executing its provisions within their borders.