Jefri Bolkiah, Prince of Brunei

Jefri Bolkiah ibni Omar Ali Saifuddien III[1] (born 6 November 1954),[2] is a member of the Brunei Royal Family. His elder brother is the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah.[3] Prince Jefri was the finance minister of his oil-rich country from 1986 to 1997.[1] He also served as chairman of the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) which invests much of the country's wealth[4] and was responsible for overseas investments.[5]

Jefri Bolkiah
Portrait of Jefri in 1967
Minister of Finance
Tenure20 October 1986 – 23 February 1997
PredecessorHassanal Bolkiah
SuccessorHassanal Bolkiah
Born (1954-11-06) 6 November 1954
Istana Darul Hana, Kampong Tumasek, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
  • Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati binti Al-Marhum Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Rahman
  • Puan Fatimah binti Abdullah née Evangeline Teodoro del Rosario
  • Dayang Puan Jefridah binti Mohammed Louis
  • Puan Ayen Munji
  • Puan Salma binti Abdullah née Claire Kelly
  • Puan Jamilah Binti Abdullah
  • Pengiran Muda (Prince) Abdul Hakeem
  • Pengiran Muda (Prince) Bahar
  • Pengiran Anak (Princess) Hamidah Jamalul Bolkiah
  • Pengiran Muda (Prince) Aarman Bolkiah
  • Awang Faiq Jefri Bolkiah
  • Awang Hassan Al Muklis Kiko Jefri Bolkiah
  • Awang Badi Jefri Bolkiah Del Rosario
  • Dayang Joanna Jefri Bolkiah
  • Dayang Karraminah Clarisse Jefri Bolkiah
  • Dayang Samantha Richelle Jefri Bolkiah
  • Dayang Haqidah Jefri Bolkiah
  • Dayang Qianah Jefri Bolkiah
Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Pengiran Digadong Sahibul Mal Pengiran Muda Haji Jefri Bolkiah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien
FatherOmar Ali Saifuddin III
MotherPengiran Anak Damit
ReligionSunni Islam Sports career
Medal record
Representing  Brunei
SEA Games
2019 PhilippinesMen's tournament

In the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the sultan had external accountants audit the books of BIA, resulting in charges by the Brunei government that Prince Jefri had embezzled $14.8 billion. He denies the charges but in 2000 agreed to hand over his personal holdings to the government, in return for avoiding criminal prosecution and being allowed to keep a personal residence in Brunei.[6] After numerous legal disputes and appeals, in 2007 Britain's Privy Council ruled that this agreement is enforceable.[4] Prince Jefri is known for his extravagant lifestyle.[6] His personal holdings included a huge art collection, the British jeweller Asprey, the New York Palace Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and Plaza Athénée in Paris. He has been married 6 times and divorced 4 wives [7] and has nineteen children.

Personal life

He has had five wives, four of whom he is divorced from and 1 to whom he is still married,[7] and eighteen children aged between around 4 to 37 in 2008.[6] Additionally he has faced a number of accusations, including lawsuits from the women allegedly involved,[8] that he has paid women to go to Brunei to have sex with him[9][10] (see § Other legal issues); it is alleged he kept a harem of up to 25 women for several years, which included the writer Jillian Lauren, who published Some Girls: My Life in a Harem about her experiences.[11][12],

His costly possessions included a private Boeing 747,[13] a large art collection including works by Manet, Renoir and at least twenty-one works by Degas, along with a collection of 2,000 luxury cars including specially commissioned unique Aston Martins,[14] a number of properties including the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris and Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles,[15] the New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan, and others in Paris, Las Vegas and St John's Lodge, in Regent's Park, London,[6] businesses such as the luxury goods manufacturer Asprey, and a yacht named Tits (which came with tenders named Nipple 1 and Nipple 2).[8] His assets were estimated at $1.5 billion. By the 2000s, due to his legal issues (see below) he was forced to sell many of his assets and be exiled from Brunei,[6] although as of September 2009 he appears to have been allowed to return to Brunei and has been seen in public with the Royal Family.[16]

Prince Jefri has had a number of legal issues with the state of Brunei, which have amounted to the most costly legal battle in the world.[17]

Brunei is a gas and oil rich state ruled by the Sultan in a constitutional sultanate;[18] the Sultan has control over every aspect of life in Brunei.[19] The Sultan was, at one time, the richest man in the world.[20] From 20 October 1986 to 23 February 1997 Prince Jefri was the Minister of Finance for Brunei,[4] responsible for dealing with revenue from oil and gas through the state body Brunei Investment Agency (BIA),[21] of which Prince Jefri was chairman.[8]

Prince Jefri also owned a network of companies and investment vehicles under the name Amadeo run by his son Hakim,[8] which was used to buy the luxury goods company Asprey and build an amusement park and other projects in Brunei.[20] In July 1998 the Amadeo group collapsed under US$10 billion in debt.[22] Between 1983 and mid-1998 some US$40 billion of what were called "special transfers" were made from the accounts of the BIA.[4]

An independent investigation was undertaken into the circumstances of these special transfers, concluding that in round figures, US$14.8 billion were paid to the accounts of Prince Jefri, US$8 billion to accounts of the Sultan and US$3.8 billion for Government purposes; the destination, purpose and recipients of the remaining transfers were not established.[4] Due to the secretive nature of the state and the blurred lines as to where the royal family’s finances and the state finances began and ended, establishing the true course of events is very difficult.[20]

Prince Jefri was accused of misappropriating state funds to pay for his own personal investments, bought through BIA and Amedeo companies and removed from his position as head of BIA.[23][24]

In February 2000, the Bruneian government attempted to obtain a freezing order on Prince Jefri’s overseas assets, which led to him countersuing in New York.[23] Following protracted negotiations a settlement agreement was signed by the Prince in May 2000,[4] the terms of which were never made public.[22] However, Prince Jefri claimed assurances were made to him by the Sultan with regards to keeping certain properties to maintain his lifestyle, which BIA denied.[4][22]

In accordance with the settlement agreement signed in 2000, the prince began to return his assets to the state, including more than 500 properties, both in Brunei and abroad, more than 2,000 cars, 100 paintings, five boats, and nine aircraft.[22] In 2001, ten thousand lots of Prince Jefri’s possessions went to auction.[25]

However, the BIA alleged that the Prince failed to uphold the agreement by failing to disclose all his accounts, and allowing money to be taken from frozen accounts,[17] and restarted legal proceedings to gain full control of the Prince’s assets. After a number of appeals,[19] this finally reached the Privy Council in London, which can serve as Brunei's highest court of appeal as a result of Brunei's former protectorate status.[26]

The Privy Council rejected Prince Jefri's evidence, describing his contention that the agreement allowed for him to retain a number of properties as "simply incredible",[27] and ruled in favour of the Government of Brunei and the BIA; consequently the Prince's appeal was dismissed and he was ordered to return the rest of his assets to Brunei.[4]

The decision of the Privy Council did not end the litigation between Prince Jefri and the BIA. The BIA re-opened proceedings in Malaysia and the Cayman Islands, resulting in the BIA gaining control over the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and The New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan.[28]

The BIA also re-opened collateral litigation in the British High Court. After winning before the Privy Council, the BIA asked the court to determine whether Prince Jefri should be held in contempt of court for allegedly making misstatements in his listing of assets. The contempt proceeding was scheduled for a hearing in June 2008, but the Prince did not attend, instead going to Paris.[17][29] Judge Peter Smith did not rule on whether Prince Jefri was in contempt, but did issue a warrant for his arrest.[30] As of November 2010, the warrant still appears to be in place, meaning the Prince will be arrested if he enters the UK.[31]

In 1997 Shannon Marketic, a former Miss USA, accused Prince Jefri and the Sultan, among others, of flying her and many other women to Brunei under false pretenses to be part of a harem, and that she was abused by those in the royal court.[10] The case was raised in a US court, but it was later dropped, because Jefri was held to have diplomatic immunity.[32]

In February 1998 Prince Jefri was sued by his former business partners Bob and Rafi Manoukian for £80 million over two property deals they claim he reneged upon;[33] the Manoukians claimed he flew in prostitutes from around the world and led a wildly extravagant lifestyle.[34] The Prince countersued, then settled out of court.[32][35]

In 2006, the Prince began legal proceedings against his former advisors, the barrister Thomas Derbyshire and his wife Faith Zaman, in both the UK and US,[36] accusing them of stealing funds from him.[37] The pair had worked for Prince Jefri since 2004, were given authority over a number of the Prince's companies, and were accused of using proceeds from property sales for their own benefit and charging personal expenses to corporate credit cards.[38] However, they contended no money was taken and all the contested purchases were for the use of the Prince and his family,[39] and counter-sued for US$12 million they claim they were owed.[38] The case is estimated to have cost Brunei US$60 million to litigate despite the value of the court case being US$7 million[40] and Prince Jefri being a key witness for the State of Brunei, which has repeatedly taken him to court,[41] challenging his compliance with court orders and questioning his veracity.[27]

In November 2010, pictures of statues the Prince had made of him and his fiancée, Micha Raines, having sex were leaked.[42][43] Various details, such as previous challenges by BIA to Prince Jefri's credibility, the wealth of Prince Jefri, the Sultan and the state of Brunei, his multiple wives, the statues and the still-in-effect British warrant for the Prince's arrest were banned from being mentioned in the courtroom as Judge Ira Gammerman ruled they were irrelevant to the case.[44][45] After nearly six weeks of trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict[46] against the Prince on all but one count.[47] The Prince and the New York Palace Hotel were ordered to pay the Derbyshires US$21 million in total.[48] Brunei has stated it intends to appeal.[47]


Name Birth Marriage Their children
Date Spouse
YAM Pengiran Muda Haji Abdul Hakeem Bolkiah 13 June 1973 YAM Pengiran Anak Abdul Halim Ar- Rahman Bolkiah



His first wife, Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati, is a member the Brunei Royal Family as the daughter YAM Pengiran Jaya Negara Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman, by the wife, Y.M Pengiran Siti Marwadi binti Pengiran Anak Ahmad.The Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati is a descendant of the eleventh Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Abdul Jalilul Jabbar and the 18th Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin I.

Together they have 3 children.

Together they have 4 grandchildren.

Honours the Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati

  • Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati, his wife :
    • Senior (Laila Utama) of the Family Order of Brunei (DK I)
    • Pingat Hassanal Bolkiah Sultan (Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Medal - PHBS)
    • Sultan of Brunei Golden Jubilee Medal (5 October 2017).
    • Silver Jubilee Medal (5 October 1992)

Ancestry Pengiran Anak Isteri Pengiran Norhayati


He has been awarded :

Bruneian honours

  • Recipient of the Royal Family Order of the Crown of Brunei (DKMB)
  • Senior (Laila Utama) of the Family Order of Brunei (DK I, 26 December 1970)
  • Pingat Hassanal Bolkiah Sultan (Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Medal - PHBS, 1 August 1968)
  • Sultan of Brunei Golden Jubilee Medal (5 October 2017).
  • Silver Jubilee Medal (5 October 1992)

Malaysian honours

  •  Malaysia :
  •  Johor :
  •  Pahang :
    • Grand Knight of the Order of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang (SSAP) with title Dato' Sri
  •  Perak :
    • Grand Knight of the Order of Cura Si Manja Kini (the Perak Sword of State, SPCM, ) with title Dato' Seri—current ribbon de the decoration :
  •  Selangor :
    • Knight Grand Companion (or Dato' Sri Setia) of the Order of Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (SSSA) with title of Dato’ Seri

Foreign honours



  1. "Ministry of Finance". The Government of Brunei Darussalam Official Website. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  2. "Istiadat Berkhatan Bagi Dua Orang Putera2 Baginda Di-Langsongkan Hari Ini" (PDF). Pelita Brunei. 2 August 1967. p. 1.
  3. "Sultan of Brunei Sacks Brother". BBC News. 29 July 1998. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  4. "His Royal Highness Prince Jefri Bolkiah and others v. The State of Brunei Darussalam and Brunei Investment Agency Privy Council Appeal No 69 of 2006, Judgment of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council". 8 November 2007. Archived from the original (RTF) on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  5. "Royal riches and family embarrassment". BBC News. 9 August 1998. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  6. "Is the party over for runaway billionaire Prince Jefri of Brunei?". The Daily Telegraph. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  7. Savage, Jared (16 March 2008). "From corner shop princess to billionaire wife". Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  8. Usborne, David (9 February 2006). "The Brunei royal family: The Sultan, his brother and an £8 billion family feud". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  9. Schneider, Karen S. (23 June 1997). "Suing the Sultan". People. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  10. "Potentate Power: Sultan Swats Sex Slave Suit". The Smoking Gun. 14 July 1997. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  11. Wright, Jennifer (23 April 2010). "Interview With a (Former) Harem Girl: We Talk To Jillian Lauren About 'Some Girls'". Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  12. Lauren, Jillian (2010). Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. New York: Plume. ISBN 978-0-452-29631-2.
  13. Sabbagh, Dan (28 July 2010). "Playboy of the Eastern World". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  14. David Dowsey (2007). Aston Martin: Power, Beauty and Soul. Peleus Press. ISBN 9780957875951.
  15. Seal, Mark (23 June 2011). "Prince Jefri: The Prince Who Blew Through Millions". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  16. Maremont, Mark (25 September 2009). "Royal Dispute Over Billions in Brunei Nears a Resolution". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  17. Alderson, Andrew (14 June 2008). "Prince Jefri blames brother Sultan of Brunei for family feud". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  18. "East and Southeast Asia: Brunei". The World Factbook. CIA. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
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  20. Landler, Mark (27 August 1998). "The Royal Treatment; Ruling Family Feuds as Oil Income Drops in Brunei". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  21. "Ministry of Finance". Official Website. The Government of Brunei Darussalam. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  22. "A Scandal's Sting Eases in Brunei". BW Online. 17 November 2000. Archived from the original on 9 April 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  23. Temko, Ned (29 July 2007). "Battle royal for riches of the Sultan". The Observer. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  24. Mitton, Roger (10 March 2000). "Everyone Was Shocked". Asiaweek. 26 (9). Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  25. Stephen, Ignatius; Spillius, Alex (12 August 2001). "Prince Jefri's shame goes under the hammer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  26. "Brunei Darussalam country brief". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  27. Bolkiah & Ors v. The State of Brunei Darussalam & Anor (Brunei Darussalam) [2007] UKPC 63 (8 November 2007), Privy Council (on appeal from The Court of Appeal of Brunei Darussalam) Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  28. Walsh, Dominic (28 July 2008). "New York Palace joins Dorchester stable". The Times. London. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  29. "Arrest warrant for Brunei prince". BBC News. 12 June 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  30. "Transcript of proceedings of 11 June 2008, Brunei v. Bolkiah, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Claim No. HC00007888" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  31. Hosenball, Mark (4 November 2010). "The fresh Prince of Brunei". Archived from the original on 7 November 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  32. "Profligate Prince Jefri". Newsweek. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  33. Marks, Kathy (10 February 1998). "Richest man's brother branded a liar in case that could expose secrets of Brunei royalty". The Independent. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  34. Watson-Smyth, Kate (13 February 1998). "Brother of world's richest man 'had unlimited tastes'". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  35. Boggan, Steve (16 March 1998). "Prince Jefri of Brunei settles out of court in pounds 180m claim". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  36. Kennedy, Dominic (16 January 2007). "Sultan's brother stole $37.5bn, claim barristers". The Australian. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  37. Randall, David (3 December 2006). "The Prince, his yacht, the property deals - and a very bitter court case". The Independent. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  38. Swaine, Jon (11 November 2010). "British couple 'stole millions from Brunei prince'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  39. Kennedy, Dominic (28 December 2006). "Drop case or we will spill your secrets". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  40. Martinez, Jose (8 November 2010). "Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, spent $60 million to litigate a court case worth only $7 million". Daily News. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  41. Hosenball, Mark (4 November 2010). "Special Report: A prince, a sultan, diamonds and a lawsuit". Reuters. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  42. "Micha Raines, model from Prince Jefri Bolkia's sex-statue collection, takes stand in court case".
  43. .. Prince Jefri doesn't want jurors to see pics .., New York Post, Dareh Gregorian, 3 November 2010
  44. Gregorian, Dareh (11 November 2010). "Judge bans prince porn". New York Post. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  45. Casa De Meadows Inc. v. Faith F. Zaman, 601685- 2007, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan)
  46. "British Lawyers Represented by Baker & Hostetler LLP Prevail in Legal Battle With the Sultan of Brunei and Prince Jefri Bolkiah". Baker Hostetler. 20 December 2010. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  47. Swaine, Jon (16 December 2010). "British couple win legal dispute with Sultan of Brunei's playboy brother". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  48. Pilkington, Ed (16 December 2010). "Brunei prince loses embarrassing lawsuit against financial advisers". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  49. "Senarai Penuh Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat Persekutuan Tahun 1989" (PDF).
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