polo run apartments greenwood indiana British court deals blow to prince
He’s been called the “Playboy Prince,” famous for luxuries big and small, from planes, yachts and cars to Italian marble and gold plated toilet roll holders.
Brunei’s disgraced Prince Jefri Bolkiah may have to adopt a more modest lifestyle now. hotels and European homes to the Brunei government’s investment arm as payback for allegedly helping himself to billions of dollars from state coffers.
The verdict is the latest chapter in one of Asia’s most sensational royal scandals, which has shone a spotlight on the opulent life of this oil rich sultanate’s ruling family.
The losses nearly bankrupted the country, located in a corner of Borneo island. They came at a time when revenue was stretched by low oil prices and the Asian economic crisis.
Jefri’s shenanigans estranged him from Hassanal, one of the richest men in the world, who lives in a gold decked 1,788 room palace and whose own lavish lifestyle is legendary.
Jefri reached an out of court settlement with the government in 2000, agreeing to pay back Brunei’s investment arm the money he allegedly used to buy hotels and other expensive assets. and European properties and a trust fund as required by the settlement.
He has four wives, 17 children and 18 adopted wards, according to Brunei media.
According to Britain’s Privy Council, the final court of appeal for many British territories and former colonies, Jefri said the disputed assets “enable him to continue to fund a suitable lifestyle for himself and his family.”
The Privy Council, however, was unmoved. It ruled last month that Jefri must transfer ownership of the New York Palace Hotel, the in Los Angeles, three residences in London and Paris and a trust fund to the Brunei agency.
Jefri contended he had an oral agreement with Hassanal entitling him to keep those “six very valuable assets,” the Privy Council said in a ruling seen on its Web site.
“It appears . that the sultan had some sympathy with Prince Jefri’s lifestyle concerns,” the council said.
“But nothing in the documentary records suggests that a firm agreement had been reached or . that the sultan had ever agreed to Prince Jefri retaining the six assets.”
A legal expert close to the Brunei Investment Agency said Jefri has not responded to the verdict, but the agency’s lawyers hope to meet Jefri’s representatives in London soon.
Discussions about Jefri’s finances might be held separately, but Jefri would continue to receive a regular, undisclosed entitlement accorded to all Brunei royalty, the expert said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Jefri’s representatives could not immediately be contacted. “The picture sought to be painted of Prince Jefri as a victim whose will was overridden by a dominant monarch seems . to be obviously false.”
The council described Jefri’s various other contentions as “devoid of weight,” “factually implausible” and even “simply ridiculous.”
“The complications are introduced by Prince Jefri’s search for a means of extricating himself from the obligations he has accepted under the settlement agreement,” it said. “After careful examination of all the evidence, these complications fall away.”
Brunei has vast oil and gas reserves that have fueled the royal family’s fortunes.
Hassanal, 61, had an estimated net worth of nearly $40 billion in 1997, the most recent figures available.
He, too, has a reputation for extravagance. While playing polo with Britain’s , Hassanal once had his polo shoes delivered by helicopter to the palace field.