1) and his brother Prince Jefri after a polo match in England in 1994; a fleet of Rolls-Royce sedans parked outside the Dorchester, the London hotel owned by the sultan; Prince Jefri at the Peninsula hotel in New York during the trial, last year; leaving the State Supreme Court in Manhattan with some of his lawyers.
Following the couple’s legal victory, Mark Seal gets an exclusive on the story the jury didn’t hear.THE PLAYBOY PLAINTIFF From left, the Sultan of Brunei (No.The sultan’s biggest extravagance turned out to be his love for his youngest brother, Jefri, his constant companion in hedonism.They raced their Ferraris through the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital, at midnight, sailed the oceans on their fleet of yachts (Jefri named one of his ), and imported planeloads of polo ponies and Argentinean players to indulge their love for that game, which they sometimes played with Prince Charles.(When the sultan flew in Whitney Houston for a performance, he is rumored to have given her a blank check and instructed her to fill it in for what she thought she was worth: more than million, it turned out.) The brothers routinely traveled with 100-member entourages and emptied entire inventories of stores such as Armani and Versace, buying 100 suits of the same color at a time.
When they partied, they indulged in just about everything forbidden in a Muslim country.
Unleashed from obscurity and unable to tell friends from sycophants, the sultan, then 41, quickly gravitated to the gambling clubs of London and began transforming men into moguls: bankrolling the early exploits of the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, allegedly financing the purchase of Harrods department store, in London, for the Egyptian entrepreneur Mohamed Al Fayed.
As word spread of the sultan’s gaping wallet, merchants from all corners of the globe swarmed into Brunei, selling him practically everything they had to offer—17 private jets, thousands of luxury cars, what one diamond dealer called “a Smithsonian” of major jewels, and a trove of art masterpieces, including a Renoir for a record million.
This wasn’t necessarily a bad strategy, because soon it seemed that only a simpleton would not have noticed the blatant chicanery he was accusing these attorneys of committing.“Numerous acts of theft and deception, self-dealing, embezzlement and fraud, all designed to benefit themselves and their family members,” read the prince’s original complaint, filed in federal court in December 2006.
He charged the couple with arranging a fraudulent sale of his mansion on Long Island’s exclusive North Shore at a cut-rate price, with depositing a million check paid to one of his companies into the account of a “cloned” company under their control in the Cayman Islands, and with putting improper personal expenses—totaling more than 0,000—on company credit cards.
The current sultan, the 29th in a long line of rulers subservient to Great Britain, hit the jackpot when his country gained independence, in 1984.