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I studied the diminutive prince on the witness stand, with his dark business suit, swept-back hair, and copper complexion.
As he testified—for the first time in a courtroom—there was no hint of the high-flying Jefri whose well-publicized expenses had once been estimated at million a month.
Caught in a feud between the prince and the sultan, they ended up in a court battle over million.
The lawyers argued that Zaman and Derbyshire had stolen nothing, and that the prince’s charges against them were part of an elaborate scheme to funnel money through them in all manner of nefarious ways to fuel his insatiable need for cash.
The defense lawyers also claimed that Jefri had stiffed Zaman and Derbyshire for millions in salaries and travel expenses, then fired them when they finally refused to comply with his increasing illegal demands.
“In its way, this case begins like a fairy tale,” Jefri’s lawyer Linda Goldstein, a fast-talking whippet of a New York City litigator, told the jury in her opening argument. His name was Prince Jefri Bolkiah.”Once upon a time, on a corner of the large island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia, there was a tiny nation the size of Delaware called Brunei, where for 600 years its royals had married their cousins.
Few people took notice of the place until 1926, when oil was discovered there.
Nevertheless, they smiled, laughed, shook their heads at things they didn’t agree with, and seemed ready and eager to get on the stand and tell their story.