Prince's shock at 'mistrust'

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The Independent Online
THE youngest brother of the Sultan of Brunei, the world's richest man, was "shattered" after finding that two close friends and emissaries had abused his trust and were making huge profits out of him, the High Court was told yesterday.

But the "astonishment, shock and horror" expressed by Prince Jefri of Bolkiah was "just nonsense", said Christopher Carr QC, counsel for Bob and Rafi Manoukian.

They are suing the prince for pounds 80m, alleging that he failed to honour deals. They say he reneged on a pounds 55m deal to buy the Adelphi property in the Strand and a pounds 25m verbal deal to renovate the first five storeys of his London home in Park Lane.

He is counter-suing for more than pounds 100m, alleging that the Manoukian brothers, whose family has worked as middlemen for the Brunei royal family for almost two decades, systematically exploited their close friendship and made unreasonable and concealed profits out of him.

Yesterday Mr Carr told the court it was the prince's case that he had trusted "his great friend" Rafi Manoukian not to overcharge him but to act in his best interests.

It would be the prince's evidence that he became suspicious about him and his activities in June 1994. These suspicions were directed to repeat billing - submitting a bill and then sending another one for the same thing at a later date. This was "unfounded", said Mr Carr.

The case continues.