Luxury goods worth more than £11 million are to be seized from a Saudi princess to pay her shopping bills, a Paris judge ordered today.
Maha Al-Sudairi, who was once married to the country’s late Crown Prince, helped herself to millions of pounds worth of goods whenever she visited the French capital.
As well as art works and jewellery, they included £5,500 worth of luxury chocolates, and £1.4m on the hire of two Rolls Royce Phantoms and ‘around 30 chauffers’ to take her shopping.
Maha Al-Sudairi last year failed to settle a £5.5m bill with the Shangri-la Hotel (pictured) after she took over an entire floor with 60 servants for six months
Last year, Mrs 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 £5.5m bill.
When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay for her stay, she claimed diplomatic immunity and moved to the Royal Monceau Hotel nearby.
The 58-year-old 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.
The princess, 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 Mrs Al-Sudairi left the Shangri-la.
In 2009 the princess was urged to stay away from France after running up unpaid bills of £14m.
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 the French capital – said to include luxury leather goods, artworks, jewellery, and clothing worth up to £10 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.
The princess’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 £100,000 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 was accused of assaulting a servant in Orange County, Florida, whom she suspected of stealing £150 000 from her. No charges were filed.