Thomas derbyshire barrister

The playboy Brunei prince and the top British lawyer he says stole £4.5million to buy houses in California

Prince Jefri of Brunei is seen arriving at a New York court for his case against his former lawyers

The Sultan of Brunei’s brother gave a leading British lawyer and his wife ‘the keys to the palace’ of his estate, only for them to steal more than £4.5million, a court was told.

Thomas and Faith Derbyshire lined their pockets after being put in charge of Prince Jefri Bolkiah’s business affairs, it is alleged.

The prince is suing the pair, who are said to have started ‘seven schemes’ to steal from their boss, including using £3.1million of his money to buy themselves homes on the California coast.

The hearing sheds light on the extravagant lifestyle of ‘Playboy Prince’ Jefri, 56, brother to the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world’s richest men. Jefri once owned more than 2,000 cars, 600 properties, nine aircraft and five boats.

The Derbyshires say all the allegations are untrue and have countersued, saying Jefri owes them £7.4million or more in promised payments.

Prince Jefri has accused London barrister Thomas Derbyshire and his wife Faith Zaman of stealing millions

Mr Derbyshire, 43, was born in Bootle, Merseyside, and is the UK’s eighth highest-earning criminal barrister, earning about £668,000 a year.

He lives with his 34-year-old wife, a non-practising barrister, in Hampstead, North London.

At the opening of the hearing at Manhattan’s Supreme Court, the jury was told Jefri hired them in 2004 with a multi-million-pound salary to manage his empire, which included the New York Palace hotel, as well as a 23-room mansion on Long Island, New York, and a home in Las


The deal ended in 2006 when he accused them of abusing his trust. The lawsuit has been brewing ever since but Jefri has been embroiled in a string of other legal matters until now.

‘He gave them the keys to the palace,’ said Linda Goldstein, a lawyer for the prince. ‘They were given an extra­ordinary position of trust.

‘They abused that trust to line their pockets in ways that were both spectacular and spectacularly petty.’

She claimed the royal bank account paid for a 30th birthday party in London for Mrs Derbyshire, her wardrobe of clothes and her home renovation.

She and her husband are said to have made millions when they had the New York Palace pay £2.4million for 150 plasma screen TVs from a company which she secretly controlled.

They also charged more than £11,000 of beauty treatments to Jefri’s corporate credit cards, it is claimed. Another alleged plot involved her arranging a 68-year lease for a huge apartment at the New York Palace hotel that was rent-free for five years, then a paltry £310 a month after that.

Prince Jefri's lawyer successfully argued the jury should not be shown photos of his life-sized statues of him having sex

The Derbyshires’ lawyers argue that the jury should be told about Jefri’s family problems, including the allegation he embezzled billions of pounds from his oil-rich homeland.

The current case has already shone a light into Jefri’s world. His lawyer successfully argued the jury should not be shown photos of his life-sized statues of him having sex.

He has four wives, 17 children and 18 adopted wards, as well as a coterie of roughly 40 women vying for his attention at nightly parties. - dailymail


Category: Barrister

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