Saudi princess' assets to be seized over unpaid £5m Paris hotel bill
A Saudi princess who fled a luxury Paris hotel in the middle of the night to avoid paying her £5 million bill is to have her assets seized in France, a judge has ruled.
Maha Al-Sudairi and her entourage of 60 attempted to sneak out of the exclusive Shangri-La Hotel in a fleet of limos at 3.30am in June last year.
They had racked up the enormous bill after checking into the hotel six months beforehand, taking over the entire 41-room seventh floor. The princess hired the services of Cinquieme Etoile (Fifth Star) to provide daily meals for her and her entourage, as well as chauffeur-driven cars and a security detail.
According to thelocal.fr, the director of Cinquieme Etoile told French daily Le Parisien: "Every day we had about 30 cars at the ready for her and those who accompanied her. We are still awaiting payment."
That payment was estimated to amount to £1.2 million.
When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay the eye-watering hotel bill, the princess attempted to make the quick exit, but was caught in the act by hotel staff. She claimed diplomatic immunity, and fled to the nearby Royal Monceau Hotel, owned by family friend, the Emir of Qatar.
However, the Shangri-La Hotel unsurprisingly did not take too kindly to the Houdini act, and have now won a legal bid to have her assets in France seized.
And her wares in Paris are sizeable; she has three storage units packed with goods from her lavish shopping trips, including artworks, jewellery, and luxury leather goods thought to be worth up to £10 million.
A spokesman for the Shangri-La said the hotel was pleased with the ruling, but that it could take some considerable time before the bill is settled,
According to the Daily Telegraph, the spokesman said: "As far as the process of getting paid goes, it's likely to take a long time. 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."
It is not the first time Maha has been in trouble over unpaid bills in the French capital. Back in 2009, she claimed diplomatic immunity again after running up unpaid shopping bills of more than £15 million, including £60,000 on designer lingerie.
She also needed to be bailed out in 2010 after she ordered £18,000 worth of glassware and silverware from a Paris store.
It is thought her wealthy background often meant her IOU notes were accepted by shopkeepers, many of whom have still not received their payments.
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