Thursday, March 30, 2006

How to solve a family fued - by becoming infallible

Legislation is a powerful tool – just check the history of the American Constitution or the British Magna Carta.

But using it to outsmart your brother is unique – but effective if we look at Brunei (a small but rich country).
The Sultan of Brunei is fighting his younger brother Prince Jefri Bolkiah, in court.
The Sultan accuses his brother of embezzling around $ 12 billion during his 13 years as finance minister.
In 2000, the two brothers reached an out-of-court settlement that compelled Jefri to pay back $ 4.5 billion in assets, including properties in Paris, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Britain and the US.

It seems that the London-based Jefri never honored the agreement, while continuing his $ 400,000 a month lifestyle.

In the latest court ruling by Chief Justice Mohammad Saied, Prince Jefri has been ordered to sell his London mansion (St John's Lodge in Regent's Park), the five-star New York Palace Hotel in Manhattan, the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles, a property at Place Vendome in Paris, a mansion in Singapore and an undisclosed quantity of cash and jewels.
To ensure this, the monarch changed the Brunei constitution and gave himself the same status as the Pope – he is infallible.

His Majesty the Sultan ... can do no wrong in either his personal or any official capacity.”
As a result, Prince Jefri has no legal options to appeal the latest ruling – unless he becomes Sultan.

To prevent Prince Jefri blabbing to the press, the following was degreed:
No person shall publish or reproduce in Brunei or elsewhere any part of proceedings ... that may have the effect of lowering or adversely affecting directly or indirectly the position, dignity, standing, honor, eminence or sovereignty of His Majesty the Sultan.”

What an elegant way to settle a score with your annoying sibling!

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