There is still no word of a buyer for the boutique hotel owned by international fugitive Jho Low, five days since it was put up for auction for US$100 million.
The Beverly Hills hotel is the last of Low’s marquee properties seized by the federal government in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) political scandal, which involved former prime minister Najib Razak.
Part of the allegedly stolen US$2.5 billion from the Malaysian development fund was used to purchase and renovate the Viceroy L’Ermitage.
The Viceroy L’Ermitage has 116 rooms, a rooftop pool, and a jet-setting clientele including the likes of A-list celebrities such as Beyoncé, Jenifer Aniston, and Brad Pitt.
Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho, acquired the hotel for US$40 million ten years ago and spent about the same amount on renovations for the luxury hotel.
Viceroy Group, which manages the hotel, charges an average of US$1,000 (RM4,300) per night for each room and describes the hotel as the “epitome of Hollywood glamour” on its website.
According to Michael M. Eidelman, an auction representative, luxury hotels rarely go on sale.
“Luxury hotels in Beverly Hills don’t often come up for sale,” he was quoted as saying, but noted that there were some “groups” who were interested.
Other keen buyers were told to contact the federal authorities in Washington. Profits from the hotel’s sale would be split between the US and Malaysian governments.
Meanwhile, Jho Low’s whereabouts remain unknown as US and Malaysian authorities continue their search for the “billion-dollar whale,” a term dubbed by the author of a book documenting the 1MDB scandal.
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