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.
Luxury goods worth more than $16 million are to be seized from Saudi Princess Maha Al-Sudairi to pay her shopping bills in Paris
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.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi of Saudi tried to dodge paying an $8 million bill from a five-star establishment in Paris, leaving the hotel with her retinue of 60 servants in tow and a mountain of suitcases.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi’s planned escape was always destined to end in farce and fiasco.
She and her entourage were instantly spotted by staff when filing out of the exclusive Shangri-La hotel at 3:30 a.m. last Friday.
They called the police and the wayward ex-wife of Saudi Crown Prince and deputy prime minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz – who is second-in-line to the Saudi throne – was stopped as her extensive luggage was being bundled into a fleet of limousines.
Most offenders in her position would have been arrested on the spot, charged and perhaps would already be behind bars.
But because the princess is protected by diplomatic immunity, police were unable to arrest or even charge her with an offence.
Instead the French authorities can only approach the Saudi Embassy in a bid to get them to help.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi of Saudi tried to dodge paying an $8 million bill from a five-star establishment in Paris, leaving the hotel with her retinue of 60 servants in tow and a mountain of suitcases
In the meantime the princess and her small army of servants have been offered refuge from their troubles – at another luxury hotel, the Royal Monceau, near the Champs-Elysees.
The five-star hotel is owned by “family friend”, the Emir of Qatar, who has offered to put her up while the matter is resolved. Princess Maha Al-Sudairi arrived in Paris with her entourage on December 23 last year and booked out an entire 41-room floor of the Shangri-La.
Up until then Princess Maha Al-Sudairi had been confined to a palace in the middle eastern state by Saudi King Abdullah after leaving behind a trail of unpaid bills with luxury firms across Europe, reportedly including Dior, jewellery outlets Chaumet and Victoria Casal, and at least one hotel.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi repeatedly dodged demands from the hotel to settle her ballooning bill, the newspaper Le Parisien reported.
Matters finally came to a head last week when police found her and her servants attempting to leave the hotel. This is not the first time the royal has found herself in hot water.
Her global over-spending has been well-documented in the past.
Princess Maha Al-Sudairi was originally “cut off” by a furious King Abdullah after racking up massive debts all over the world during the last few years.
In June 2009, Princess Maha Al-Sudairi claimed diplomatic immunity in France after amassing $24 million in unpaid shopping bills, including $100,000 on designer lingerie alone.
The following year, she was once again bailed out by her oil-rich government after she ordered $30,000 worth of glassware and silverware from a Paris store.
Despite this, her fabulously wealthy credentials meant the “IOU” notes handed to shopkeepers which read “payment to follow” were usually accepted.
Over the years, up to 30 of Paris’s most exclusive retailers have fallen foul of her bouncing credit notes, French newspapers reported.
Shop owner Jacky Giami, who owns Paris’s Key Largo leisure wear store, said the princess and her relatives had more than $160,000 worth of his stock.
Last night, police in Paris said they were unable to arrest or charge Princess Maha Al-Sudairi because she was claiming diplomatic immunity. They said they would be asking the Saudi embassy to help settle her accounts.