Sultan of Brunei pays dollars 202m for luxury New York hotel

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THE SULTAN of Brunei has completed the purchase of the New York Palace Hotel in a dollars 202m deal, adding to a collection of luxury hotels that includes the Dorchester in London and the Beverly Hills Hilton.

The 1,000-room New York Palace, on Madison Avenue, was being operated under receivership by the hotel management group Interstate Hotels following a dispute between members of its ownership group, with the general partner Helmsley Enterprises pitted against the other limited partners.

The hotel was formerly known as the Helmsley Palace, the flagship of the hotel group of the New York property developer Harry Helmsley, whose wife Leona is coming to the end of a prison sentence for tax evasion.

Leona Helmsley, who used to appear in advertisements for the hotel posing as the Queen of the Helmsley Palace, is a highly unpopular figure in New York, where the tabloid newspapers call her names such as the Queen of Mean. She gained notoriety around the time of her trial for her remark that 'only little people' pay taxes.

The sale of the New York Palace Hotel was closed at midnight on Thursday, following several months of negotiations between Interstate and Amedeo Hotels, which is owned by the sultan.

The sultan, whose fortune is estimated at more than dollars 30bn, was advised and represented on the deal by Business Advisory Ltd, an Asian financial advisory firm.