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Wednesday, July 29, 1998 Published at 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Sultan of Brunei sacks brother

The sultan: concerns about his brother's stewardship of agency

The world's richest man, the Sultan of Brunei, has removed his younger brother from the chairmanship of the country's powerful investment agency.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who is also the country's finance minister, dismissed Prince Jefri Bolkiah as chief of the Brunei Investment Agency (BIA).

The BIA controls the vast portfolio of foreign businesses, banks, properties and other assets bought with the sultanate's oil wealth.

The total amount of those riches has been estimated at up to $60bn.

Correspondents say that concern had grown about Prince Jefri's stewardship of the agency after the sultanate's leading conglomerate, Amedeo - which he also ran - collapsed recently with millions of dollars' debt.

Earlier this year, Prince Jefri was sued in Britain for about $120m over property deals. Allegations of a playboy lifestyle were made in court.

The civil action, which was billed as the most expensive in English legal history, was settled out of court.

The Sultan has named the country's Education Minister, Abdul Aziz Umar, as the new head of the BIA.

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