A: You decide to go to the mall to just browse around; then, next thing you know you’re buying a pair of shoes; then – oops – you just paid for a new pair of earrings; and then – well – you might as well go try on that dress. Doesn’t this sound like you? Well, we all may get a little carried away when we shop, but we’d be willing to bet that your shopping habits don’t hold a candle to those of Prince Jefri Bolkiah, brother to the sultan of Brunei.
The prince literally spent his small country into bankruptcy during the 1990s with a multibillion-dollar shopping spree. Clearly, Prince Jefri knew how to treat himself right, as the 300,000 citizens of Brunei found out when his purchases were put up for auction as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Included for sale were a golden toilet roll holder, rows of gold-plated Jacuzzis and showerheads, porcelain flamingos, gold-plated wastepaper baskets, a multi-million-dollar marquee complex, Comanche helicopter simulators, an Airbus jet, a Formula 1 racing car, and a bronze-plated eight-foot-high Trojan horse. Luxury hotels in Great Britain, France, and Singapore were also favorite purchases of Jefri.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Jefri merely spent money. He stole money too. Previously, a lawsuit had been brought against Jefri for the theft of approximately $16 billion from Brunei’s state-run economic development agency. Needless to say, he didn’t develop anything profitable with the funds.