This billionaire had an estimated fortune of $40 billion, which once placed him at the top of Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s richest people. Recent reports, however, suggest that his treasure has dwindled to a only $10 billion due to his lavish spending and bad land deals. How do you blow $30 billion which is roughly equivalent to the entire annual income of all 125 million people living in Bangladesh?
Hassanal Bolkiah Muizzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Prime Minister of Brunei inherited a personal fortune estimated at $40 billion from his father. Here’s how he managed to blow three quarters of the largest fortune in the history of the world.
A large chunk of it went on the Sultan’s palace, monstrosity that boasts 1,788 rooms and is larger than the Vatican-in a tiny country with just 300,000 inhabitants. When the Sultan’s daughter turned 18 he bought her an Airbus. For himself he prefers his own jumbo jet, originally designed to carry over 400 people.
Great skill in extravagance has also been acquired by his brother, Prince Jefri. Having heard of Disneyland, he decided to build the Jerudong Park Playground in the capital, Bandar-Seri Begawan, at a cost of $1 billion.
an astonishing court case this week revealed the extent of the Sultan’s financial excesses.
The 50-page list of payments – which totals 40 billion dollars – also reveals that over four years nearly 8 billion dollars of state funds was paid into his account to bankroll his lifestyle. That’s more than oil-rich Brunei’s entire GDP.
But what a lifestyle. He is believed to own a fleet of 5,000 luxury and sports cars and his own private Boeing 747-400 worth 230 million dollars.
He shares a 1,788-room palace with Queen Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleh, who he married in 1965, and HRH Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz Mazhar, 29, who he married in 2005. The family also has lavish homes in London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris.
Details of the father of eleven’s finances have become public thanks to the most expensive family feud in legal history.
The Sultan, who has ruled as absolute monarch for 40 years, and his brother have been embroiled in a legal battle for 10 years. Lawyers’ bills alone stretch to 200 million dollars.
The Sultan claims his younger brother siphoned off 16 billion dollars during 13 years as finance minister and is now claiming the prince has failed to repay the 6 billion which was agreed in an out-of-court settlement back in 2000.
Here is a list of how the world’s richest man spends his cash
The Istana Nurul Iman palace is the largest of the Sultan’s properties which also include a six-star hotel, climate controlled stables for his 200 polo ponies, five aircraft hangars to house his 5,000 cars.
Although the palace is hidden from public view through artful landscaping, satellite views provided by programs such as Google Earth, have increased the public knowledge of the palace’s layout. Such images have relayed the existence of two large buildings in the center of the palace and five smaller buildings either adjacent to or nearby the palace center.
Istana Nurul Iman contains 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, and a floor area of 2,152,782 square feet (200,000 m²). Amenities include 5 swimming pools, and an air conditioned stable for the Sultan’s 200 polo ponies, a 110-car garage, a banquet hall that can be expanded to accommodate up to 4,000 guests, and a mosque accommodating 1,500 people. The palace was built in 1984 at a cost of around $1.4 billion USD and has 564 chandeliers, 51,000 light bulbs, 44 stairwells, and 18 elevators. It is also a home to a car collection that includes custom-made Ferraris and Bentleys as well as 165 Rolls Royces. Its golden domes, designed by Filipino architect Leandro V. Locsin, and vaulted roofs echo Islamic and Malay architectural influences.
Istana Nurul Iman: 2,152,782 square feet
The Royal Palace of Madrid: 1,453,122 square feet 
Buckingham Palace: 828,818 square feet (77,000 m²) 
The Palace of Versailles: 551,218 square feet (51,210 m²) 
Windsor Castle: 484,374 square feet (45,000 m²) 
Rashtrapati Bhavan: 200,000 square feet (20,000 m²)
The Biltmore Estate: 175,000 square feet (16,300 m²)
The White House: 55,000 square feet (5,100 m²)
Jerudong Park is an amusement park in Brunei. It is the largest and most expensive amusement park in South East Asia, built and funded by the rich Bruneian government for $1 billion.
It is notable that during its first few years of operation, Jerudong Park featured no admission fees and free rides, and is currently larger than the current phase 1, Hong Kong Disneyland. The public had only to queue up for rides. However recently, the number of visitors and tourists have dropped significantly and the administration has started a one time BN$15 admission fee, and allride ticketing systems. According to the park’s website, many of its rides are for sale.
As of August 2006, Jerudong Park was largely inactive, derelict, and even tending to ruin in places. The park remained open to visitors, but remains virtually empty probably because the vast majority of the rides, including all the major roller coasters, are closed. The log flume remains open, along with a few smaller fairground attractions, and a single kart is available on the go-kart track. Parts of the park are now unlit, yet remain accessible to visitors, creating a strange ghost-town atmosphere. It seems probable that as more park equipment fails and is not maintained the last few attractions will slowly close.
The Board of Directors of the park promise they will invest in new rides within the next three years, after completely selling the rides.
Here are the rides for sale:
Jerudong Park Yard Sale
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei married former TV3 (Malaysia) newscaster Azrinaz Mazhar Hakim at a private ceremony attended by family members and close friends at the Brunei Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The marriage was a heavily guarded secret and was only leaked very much later to the press by one of the guests.She became the second wife of the king.The first one still remains.
Azrinaz, who is fondly known as Naz, started work as a broadcast journalist with Malaysian television channel TV3 (Malaysia) in 1997. She won TV3’s “Most Promising Journalist” award in 2000 and received the MIIM Alumni Award in 2002.
$3.5 million to masseuses, acupuncturists
$28 million on housekeeping and maintaining his homes
$3.2 million to badminton coach
$11 million to each of his five PR officers
$96,000 to guard his exotic birdcages
An unknown fortune is also rumored to have been spent on escorts including playboy bunnies and models who are known to have visited the palaces of the sultan and his brother.
Here is an unverified full list of his cars, complete with vin numbers.
Two Boeings, including a 747-400 jumbo jet, one Airbus, six smaller planes, two helicopters (ANI)
This Airbus 340 aircraft was “remodeled” in Waco. The sinks are solid gold and one of them is Lalique crystal. The Sultan bought the aircraft for roughly $100M; had it flown to Waco, brand-new, had the interior completely removed; and had the folks at E-Systems (now Raytheon) install $120M worth of improvements inside and outside.
This version of the Airbus A340 was ordered by the Sultan of Brunei requesting for a non-stop range of 8,000 nautical miles (14820 km). This A340-8000 had an increased fuel capacity, a MTOW of 275 tonnes similar to the A340-300, and minor reinforcements to the undercarriage. Upon completion its final range was specified at 8,100 nautical miles (15,000 km). It is powered by the 34,000 lbf (151 kN) thrust CFMI CFM56-5C4s similar to the -300E