A Saudi Princess has fled France ahead of creditors demanding payment of millions of euros in outstanding debt — but she’s been forced to leave some treasures behind.
Three storage units full of luxury goods stockpiled by Princess Maha Al-Sudairi, the ex-wife of the late Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, are to be seized in order to settle her unpaid bills, reports the the Independent.
A French judge has ordered the storage facilities — inevitably dubbed“Aladdin’s caves” by the press — be opened and emptied of jewels, artworks, leather goods and clothes, which according to the Independent are estimated to be worth more than $15 million.
Over the last four years Princess Maha has run up — and, apparently, run out on — millions in hotel and shopping bills, the Independent reported. The most recent incident was last June, when she left the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris with 60 members of her staff in the dead of night, leaving behind a bill for nearly $8 million. She had taken over an entire 41-room floor in the hotel for six months.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia refused to pay for the Princess’s stay, which was the impetus for her exit at 3:30 a.m., according to the Sydney Morning Herald Tribune.
Not quite finished with her time in Paris, the Princess moved to the nearby five-star Royal Monceau Hotel, which is owned by a “family friend,” the emir of Qatar, the Irish Examiner reported. She left France a month later and hasn’t returned since.
The contents of the Princess Maha’s three storerooms will be seized and may eventually be sold off to pay off her debts; however, according to the Independent, the legal proceedings will likely be long and complex, as the Princess has claimed diplomatic immunity and has declined to hire a lawyer to respond to the accusations against her.
A spokesperson for the Shangri-La said the hotel was pleased with the judge’s ruling, but didn’t expect a check in the mail anytime 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,” the Daily Mail reported the spokesperson as saying.
Princess Maha has reportedly been ordered to remain in Saudi Arabia to curb her spendthrift ways, although if so who knows if it will take: in 2009 King Abdullah also confined her at home after she left a similar trail of unpaid bills across Europe.