Luxury goods worth more than $16 million are to be seized from Saudi Princess Maha Al-Sudairi to pay her shopping bills, a Paris judge ordered on Thursday.
Maha Al-Sudairi, who was once married to Saudi’s late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, helped herself to millions of dollars worth of goods whenever she visited Paris.
As well as art works and jewellery, they included $8,500 worth of luxury chocolates, and $2.2 million on the hire of two Rolls Royce Phantoms and “around 30 chauffeurs” to take her shopping.
Last year, Maha Al-Sudairi took over an entire floor at the four star Shangri-la Hotel with 60 servants for six months, but failed to settle the $8.5 million bill.
When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay for her stay, the princess claimed diplomatic immunity and moved to the Royal Monceau Hotel nearby.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi, 58, has now been sued by six creditors through a court in the suburb of Nanterre.
A judge ruled that three storage units registered to the princess should be opened, and their contents sold so as to pay off her debts.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi, who is currently in Saudi Arabia, is the divorced wife of the late Saudi Crown Prince and interior minister, Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. He died last June, just as Maha Al-Sudairi left the Shangri-la.
In 2009 Maha Al-Sudairi was urged to stay away from France after running up unpaid bills of $22 million.
She is known to have bought three storage units in central Paris, where she is believed to have stashed her wares from her shopping trips around Paris– said to include luxury leather goods, artworks, jewellery, and clothing worth up to $16 million.
A spokesman for the Shangri-La said the hotel was pleased at the judge’s ruling, but did not expect the bill to be settled soon.
“The princess’s 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,” he said.
Maha Al-Sudairi’s fabulously wealthy credentials meant her IOU notes handed to shopkeepers reading “payment to follow” were usually accepted.
Over the past years, up to 30 of Paris’s most exclusive luxury goods retailers have fallen foul of her credit notes.
Jacky Giami, owner of Paris’s Key Largo leisure wear store, said the princess and her relatives pillaged his shop of more than $160,000 worth of stock three years ago.
He said he spent days loitering in the bar of the Georges V hotel hoping to confront her, only to learn she had fled to London.
In 1995, Princess Maha Al-Sudairi was accused of assaulting a servant in Orange County, Florida, whom she suspected of stealing $240, 000 from her. No charges were filed.