London — Brunei is facing unexpected hurdles on a prestigious London property project as the kingdom comes under fire for introducing laws persecuting gays. Major real estate advisory firms that had been invited by the Asian nation’s sovereign wealth fund to consult on the redevelopment of Lansdowne House on London’s prized Berkeley Square have either declined the invitation or sought clarification on the legislative changes before agreeing to participate, people with knowledge of the process said. A spokesperson for the Brunei fund declined to comment. The property firms’ reluctance to engage with Brunei is reminiscent of the reprisals faced by Saudi Arabia last year from the global investment community following the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi by government agents in Turkey. Those ultimately proved to be fleeting, with business interests prevailing as money managers and financial firms resumed looking for new opportunities in the oil-rich Middle Eastern kingdom.

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