Follow by Email

Friday, March 8, 2013

Saudi Princess does a moonlight flit in Paris

Lawyers for the Shangri-La hotel in Paris have won a legal battle to have all of Saudi Princess, Maha Al-Sudain's assets in France seized.

King Abdullah warned his family about squandering money and laid down a new set of rules.  The King confined her to a palace in 2009 after she left a trail of unpaid bills across Europe, but she escaped and took an entourage of 60 friends and servants with her to Paris for a spending spree.

She took over an entire 41 room floor at the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris for six months, racking up a bill of $7.5 million but the King refused to pay it.  Shocked, she decided the best thing to do was sneak out in the middle of the night and was caught red handed at 3.30 am in June last year, loading mountains of shopping and suitcases into a fleet of limos. When police arrived to arrest her, she claimed diplomatic immunity and simply moved into the nearby five star Royal Monceau Hotel, owned by a friend of the family.

The Princess bought three units in Paris where she has stored some of the goods from her shopping sprees, including expensive artworks, jewellery and clothing.  A spokesman for the Shangra-La said "Her belongings will need to be valued and then sold at auction, and even then, we may need to take international legal action against the princess before we see any cash."

All members of the Al Saud family receive a generous monthly stipend. It starts with the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family and goes all the way up to the surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.  Grandchildren and great-grandchildren also receive staggering amounts and bonus payments are also available for marriage and palace building.  The stipends encourage the family to keep on having children, as it begins at birth.

The princess's rich credentials meant that her IOU notes to shopkeepers which read "payment to follow" were usually accepted.  But not anymore.