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Will the Prince turn Pauper? Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei "They want me to give it all back,"



March 01, 2008 – Comments (12) | RELATED TICKERS: GLD

Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei once was one of the wealthiest men in the world. Now he's worried he may soon be homeless and forced into bankruptcy.

"They want me to give it all back,"

But much of the BIA's money went to Prince Jefri. According to court documents, the prince spent $475 million on Rolls Royce cars, $78 million at Italian sports-car company Pininfarina SpA, and $900 million at British jeweler Asprey. He liked Asprey so much that in 1995 he bought the company, for $385 million. A firm owned by Prince Jefri paid $202 million for the Helmsley Palace hotel in 1993, using BIA funds.

The Bruneian royal aircraft fleet -- split between the Sultan and Prince Jefri -- contained 10 jets, including a Boeing 747 and an Airbus A-340, according to 1996 insurance documents. A 45-page list of individual recipients shows that scores of people benefited from Prince Jefri's generosity, from ministers to royal relatives to servants. One of Prince Jefri's fathers-in-law received $23 million in BIA funds; his badminton coach and acupuncturist each were paid $1.8 million.

Prince Jefri also amassed a world-class art collection. Under his tenure, the BIA paid $24 million for a Manet and $20.5 million for a Renoir, according to records filed in British court. The prince's favorite, though, was Edgar Degas: "I like the brilliant color and heavy stroke," he says. He bought at least 21 paintings by the French Impressionist artist, according to court documents.

Prince Jefri seems bewildered by the accusation that he misspent $14.8 billion. "It's not that easy to hide," he says. "I keep asking the lawyers, 'Where did it go?'"

Some of the Rolls Royce cars, he says, were used as a kind of "transport pool" for the 20-odd royal guest houses in Brunei. "We'd provide our guests with a car and a backup car, so they didn't have to rent from anybody."

The prince says his brother the Sultan was aware of much of the spending. For example, Prince Jefri says he spent several years building himself a sprawling beachfront palace in Brunei, with a sports complex. "He knew it was built," the prince says. "My civil list [government allowance] is only $20,000 U.S. per month. You can't build a house for that."

Prince Jefri says the Sultan would sometimes come over to his palace after one of their frequent badminton matches, and admire a newly-bought Picasso or Degas on the wall. "He'd say, 'Nice painting. Could you transfer this today?" to the Sultan's own palace -- a 1,788 room edifice that covers 49 acres.

Of course there was the Harem, in which he paid $120k for Miss USA six week attendances.

12 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 01, 2008 at 9:13 PM, AnomaLee (28.79) wrote:

The prince, Mr. Douglas said, "has had unimaginable wealth all of his life. Now he's going to go and bus tables?"


How is that even a defense???

This was an entertaining/interesting article.... 

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#2) On March 01, 2008 at 9:32 PM, joeykid13 wrote:

His Brother is the Sultan?  What a lousy Brothers treat me famously.  The Prince was a spoiled brat, but his Brother should come to his defense, and at least set him up in one of the Royal Palaces back in Brunei.  I am sure He will have no problem selling The Helmsley Palace, or was it the New York Helmsley...either way.  In any case it can't be easy to squander 15B...I get tired just thinking about it.  I'm sure Jeff will find that being poor, say having only a few hundred million to spend, rather than billions, will be far more interesting, challenging and fulfilling.  I wish him all the best.

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#3) On March 01, 2008 at 9:36 PM, LordZ wrote:

HMM I think I found someone, a whale big enough to finance the CDO of the middle east war....


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#4) On March 01, 2008 at 9:49 PM, abitare (30.30) wrote:

There is a great documentary about their harem. They kept penhouse playmates etc... paid them tons of money and gave them hundreds of thousands to shop...

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#5) On March 01, 2008 at 10:00 PM, AnomaLee (28.79) wrote:

Well, that sounds like most people's dream... Makes me think of the TV show Richie Rich or better yet.... the movie that starred Macaulay Culkin.

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#6) On March 01, 2008 at 10:03 PM, joeykid13 wrote: that what the call "living the Bruneic dream"?  I wish to thank LordZ for the comedic CDO comment which inspired my latest post.

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#7) On March 01, 2008 at 10:27 PM, abitare (30.30) wrote:

Funny...good times. Of interest Bill Clinton did make a stop there back in the when he was president.

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#8) On March 01, 2008 at 10:37 PM, joeykid13 wrote:


 I heard that BC was getting 10M annually as an "American Investment Consultant", to a certain Middle Eastern Government...Do you know which nation this is?

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#9) On March 01, 2008 at 10:44 PM, abitare (30.30) wrote:

Sultan going for a ride in his Ferreri 

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#10) On March 01, 2008 at 10:57 PM, lquadland10 (< 20) wrote:

Hey Aba, How are you doing? Guess what your gold and oil is going to go higher soon. GLD  Cramer went off on good old Ben again and so I think he will soon come in and drop the rate. It is going to be all right. I understand why Cramer is demanding this and it will soon be reveled. I am also going to short CSX. I'm having fun are you having fun yet.

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#11) On March 01, 2008 at 11:14 PM, abitare (30.30) wrote:


Not sure. Bush Sr has significant ties to Saudi. Guiliani had Middle East moeny, but he would not disclose the sources. Clintons has China money problems. The Clintons have been involved in tons of scandals real and fake, Rose Law firm, travel office, Roger Clintons cocaine selling, selling of pardons etc....

Gennifer Flowers Bill' Clintom's 12 year mistress said Hillary was gay on Fox News, the fun never stops

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#12) On March 01, 2008 at 11:32 PM, abitare (30.30) wrote:


Short CSX? why?Warren Buffett and other "whales" are buying rails.The whole rail sector is very strong. It works with the commodity and high oil story. There has to be far weaker target then rail....

Look at the five year chart:

Does that look like a weak target? High oil makes rail the better choice for transportation.  

I would not follow Crammer, he is a at 48% accuracy. You are better off  flipping a coin.  Or better yet follow Top Fools with 80% accuracy.

Helicopter Ben will likely lower rates to zero it will do nothing except destroy the dollar further and send commodities to the roof. Japan has already played this out before. 

Jim Cramer speach in 2000 read and heed:

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