11 November 2010 By Craig McDonald
Nude statue scandal as brother of Sultan of Brunei sues former
THE outrageous habits of a playboy prince have been exposed in a sensational US court case.
Jefri Bolkiah – brother of the fabulously wealthy Sultan of Brunei – was in a New York courtroom on Tuesday, suing his former lawyers.
But the case has revealed his outlandish luxuries – including gilded toilet roll holders and $1million pornographic statues.
Jefri, 56, claims British husband and wife legal team Thomas and Faith Zaman Derbyshire stole more than £4million from him.
In a counter-claim, they insist Jefri – who has four wives, a harem and 17 children by seven women – owes them around £7.5million in legal fees.
The case has already caused a scandal over the prince’s nude statues.
Life-sized nude bronzes on his Long Island estate show the prince and a fiancee, Micha Raines, having sex.
The south-east Asian prince’s lawyer asked the court to keep photos of the statues out of the trial evidence.
They claimed “jurors easily could be offended” by their erotic nature and “express their anger as prejudice against the prince”.
In addition, the prince demanded details of his private life were barred from the courtroom, including his many wives, estates and harem.
His harem was first detailed in 1997 by a former Miss USA when she sued the prince and the sultan for holding her as a sex slave.
Jefri has long been noted for his extravagance – with a 2001 auction featuring gold-plated hot tubs, new fire engines and gilded household bins and toilet-paper holders.
He once owned more than 2000 cars, 600 properties, nine aircraft and five boats.
He even sailed the world in a yacht he christened Tits – with the boats tenders named Nipple 1 and Nipple 2. Despite the harem and his four wives, he was once reported to have around 40 women competing for his attention at nightly parties.
Jefri hired the Derbyshires in 2004, giving them authority to handle his legal problems and help run several companies.
Linda Goldstein, a lawyer for some of the companies, told jurors the Derbyshires exploited his trust “to line their own pockets in ways that were spectacular and spectacularly petty”.
According to the prince’s legal papers, the couple used more than £3million of the prince’s proceeds from selling a Las Vegas ranch to buy themselves homes in Manhattan Beach, California.
They are also accused of charging thousands of dollars worth of beauty treatments and motorcycle accessories to the prince’s corporate credit cards.
The Derbyshires, who were fired in 2006, say they worked diligently for the prince, making deals in his best interest and getting benefits he authorised as a way of paying them – but still ended up far short of what they were owed.
The two sides are disputing the basic fee the prince agreed to pay the couple but agree it was at least a total of £2million a year.
Manhattan State Supreme Court justice Ira Gammerman told jurors: “It’s not about how rich any of the parties may be – it’s not about anybody’s lifestyle.
“This case is not about sex – although it might have been much more interesting if it was.”
The prince, sporting a dark blue suit, said nothing as he watched intently from the plaintiffs’ table.
Jefri has also been accused in the past of looting his own country’s money, causing years of tension with his powerful brother.
Brunei’s government accused him of embezzling nearly £10billion from Brunei’s state coffers while he was finance minister, nearly bankrupting the country.
Jefri denied any wrongdoing, but he agreed in a 2000 settlement to repay the nation’s investment arm the money he allegedly used to buy hotels and other expensive items.
His brother, Sultan Hassana Bolkiah, lives in a 1788-room palace in his tiny, oil-rich country, on the island of Borneo.
The world’s second richest royal, he once had his polo shoes delivered to the field by helicopter for a match with Prince Charles.