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The US is trying to take away Miranda Kerr’s piano

Quartz logo Quartz 12/9/2018 Dave Gershgorn
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The US government has a little problem at Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr’s house.

It’s an acrylic grand piano, potentially worth up to $1 million, sitting in the model’s Malibu home. The piano was a 2014 gift from Jho Low, a Malaysian financier-turned-fugitive who allegedly embezzled billions from a Malaysian investment fund into his own and other government officials’ accounts.

As proceedings against Low progress in both the US and Malaysia, the financier is still at large and presumed to be hiding in China, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, federal agencies are tasked with tracking down and reclaiming a trail of ill-gotten possessions and gifts, including Kerr’s piano.

Piano removal isn’t as simple as hiring a moving company. Kerr originally intended to leave the piano in her Malibu home simply under an outdoor overhang, but its architect was horrified at the prospect of it being left outdoors, according to the Times. He pressured Kerr to build walls around the piano to protect it. Now in order to extract the piano, the US government would likely have to demolish part of Kerr’s house and then repair it—a costly endeavor to retrieve just one of the many pieces gifted around the world.

Kerr has already turned over jewelry gifted by Low, like a pair of 11-carat diamond earrings and a 11.71-carat diamond shaped like a heart.

Among the other items difficult to reclaim was a $250 million yacht called the Equanimity, outfitted with a helipad and movie theater. It was eventually found in Bali, and the US government had to pay for a crew to operate the boat until it was turned over to the Malaysian government, according to the Times.

About $200 million was also used to buy art. Some of it, gifted to actor Leonardo DiCaprio, has been turned over to authorities already. DiCaprio was also given Marlon Brando’s 1954 Oscar award, which went missing from Brando’s home and was returned in 2017.

Despite these seizures, as well as the advancing trial for which he has not appeared, Low maintains his innocence, according to a website maintained by a spokesperson.

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