Much has been made in the media about a RM14.5bn golden yacht being made in Europe for an “anonymous Malaysian businessman”. The first reports originated in the British tabloid press – but a London-based website, Motorboat & Yachting, claims the story is now confirmed to be fake.
The yacht story had initially looked genuine as the golden yacht was featured on the website of UK designer Stuart Hughes. The yacht ‘History Supreme’ is apparently a gold-plated Baia 100, a model introduced by Baia Yachts of Italy in 2008.
But basic journalistic tenets were apparently ignored. The golden yacht story was picked up by half the UK press (and elsewhere) and “reported faithfully, without a call to Baia to check the story’s authenticity”, claims Motorboat & Yachting deputy editor Stewart Campell.
The images that were circulated appeared to have been taken from the Baia Yachts website and ‘photoshopped’. The Baia Yachts sales manager Mario Borselli informed Motorboat & Yachting: “Who would believe that a boat would have 100 tons of gold on board? They took some pictures from our website without our permission. We will write him a letter asking him to take them down, but we are not thinking to go legal. It’s such a stupid story it’s not worth it… I can’t believe people would believe someone would be so stupid to commission this boat.”
In an earlier story, Campbell had earlier explained why he was suspicious about the story. He claimed that Stuart Hughes had said the boat was commissioned for display purposes, and would be kept in dry dock – “so we suppose that does away with any doubts about the boat’s seakeeping”.
Interesting though that the story should mention an “anonymous Malaysian businessman”. Perhaps that was thrown in to make the tale more believable!