Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, was once the richest person on the planet earth and his wealth was legendary. It was estimated that he earned about 90 euros every second. He had at least 3,000 to 6,000 cars and spent well over US$4 billion in high-performance cars. Guinness World Records even stated that the Sultan of Brunei has a personal private collection of 500 Rolls-Royces. It was rumoured that an 8-story air-conditioned building was built specifically to store his car collections.
The Sultan of Brunei’s Palace was so huge that even if you were to glimpse each room for 60-seconds, you need more than 24 hours to do so for the entire 1,788 rooms furnished in gold. The Sultan’s Boeing 747, worth an estimated US$100 million and re-decorated at a cost of about US$120 million, is one of the most luxurious ever. He was perhaps the luckiest person on the planet to inherit the nation the size of Delaware called Brunei, which produces black-gold since its discovery in 1926. His fortune hit the jackpot when the Brunei gained independence in 1984 and by 1987, he was the richest man in the world, worth US$40 billion.
With such huge fortune at the age of 41, the sultan started to spend like there’s no tomorrow. Suddenly he found merchants from all corners of the globe swarmed into his little kingdom, selling pratically everything you can think of, from jumbo jets to erotic fountain pens (US$1.3 million). And the sultan bought them at huge marked-up prices. He even bought his daughter an Airbus when she turned 18. During the peak period, the sultan, together with his brother, Prince Jefri, raced their Ferraris through the streets of Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital, at midnight. They sailed the oceans on their fleet of yachts, snapped up real estate and international companies like Monopoly pieces.
They traveled with 100-member entourages and emptied entire inventories of stores such as Armani and Versace, buying 100 suits of the same color at a time. They even sent emissaries to comb the globe for the sexiest women they could find. As much as the sultan thought his personal fortune was invincible, however, his US$40 billion was reduced to merely US$10 bilion, thanks to his youngest brother, Prince Jefri Bolkiah, who was accused by Sultan of Brunei of cheating away billions of dollars when he serves as its finance minister, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
Now, the Sultan of Brunei is selling exotic cars which he bought but never drove. Recently, it was reported that over 20 cars ranging from Ferrari Enzo, BMW Nazca V12 to Cizeta V16 p were for sale. The 2004 Enzo’s asking price was US$2 million but above all – most of the cars for sale have the same mileage on their odometers that they left the factory with (talk about waste). While Brunei is safe from any uprising, thanks to its very low population, there is very obvious reason why the elites in Saudi Arabia are freaking worry about any uprising.
Engineering student Dhiaa Al-Essa, 22-year-old, has over 30 luxury cars in his garage – four Ferraris, five Porsches, three Lamborghinis, two Rolls Royces and a Mercedes SLR McLaren. Worse still, this boy doesn’t need to lift a finger to get those dream cars simply because – daddy buys them. This lucky boy from Riyadh’s collection was valued at £4.5 million. All the luxury cars he owns have a personalized number plate with the figures 070, which cost about £100,000 each. He even paid a £45,000 premium to jump queue in order to become the first person in Saudi Arabia to own a a Lamborghini Aventador, forking out £290,000 for the £245,000 supercar.
Unlike Sultan of Brunei who didn’t actually had the thrill of fast-driving despite owning them, this playboy Dhiaa Al-Essa spent the summer flying his cars to London, Montreal, Las Vegas and New York to go on driving tours with friends – simply because the speed limit of 75 mph in Saudi Arabia was limiting his passion. Dhiaa Al-Essa’s grandfather is estimated to have a fortune worth more than £1.5 billion so those cars bought was considered loose change.
Mega-rich Middle Eastern playboys often fly to western countries such as London in their customized supercars, all painted in “white”. Jealous? Don’t be because that’s how the rich kids spend their easy money particularly from oil-rich kingdoms. Nobody knows for sure if we would see these lucky fellows ride camels again once the oil runs out. But then nobody ever thought Gaddafi could die in such a horrible death either. Hey, at least this Dhiaa Al-Essa was spending his grandfather’s money instead of nation’s coffer like some very corrupted politicians. Nevertheless uprising in the Middle East is far from over so the rich who benefits from the dictators have better watch out.
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