Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, made a splash—a mostly negative one—earlier this year when he purchased the Beverly Hills Hotel. Bolkiah has imposed harsh Sharia laws that will permit the stoning of gays and adulterers in Brunei, which has led to protests and outrage over the hotel purchase (picketer signs include, "This Hotel is Owned by Homophobes"). But the sultan isn't done buying property in the US: he has now set his eyes on the Plaza Hotel.
According to the Times Of London, the sultan would also purchase the Dream Hotel downtown and London’s Grosvenor House Hotel along with it. All three hotels are being sold by owner Subrata Roy, an Indian industrialist who is currently in a New Delhi jail on contempt of court charges, and reportedly needs the money to cover his bail.
The Post adds that Bolkiah wouldn't have a say in "the day-to-day operation of the hotels but would be the controlling owner in partnership with two investors who already have stakes in the properties." Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno (who has appeared at some protests), Elton John and Anna Wintour have all boycotted the Beverly Hills Hotel, but despite Bolkiah's brutal policies in his home country, tourists have continued to flock there.
Altogether, the deal would come to an estimated $2.2 billion, which is chump change for Bolkiah—he is worth around $20 billion.