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Sunday, 19 December 2010

Saudi princess runs up £15 million shopping bill around the world

George V Hotel ParisShe has ignored her furious debtors and locked herself in her £2,500-a-night suite at the George V Hotel in Paris. When a royal aide was approached about settling the underwear bill he replied: “I’m afraid we can’t go around settling bills for the Princess’s knickers.” Princess Maha, whose husband, Prince Nayef, is interior minister and second-in-line to the Saudi throne, is said to have spent millions on designer clothes, jewels and other luxury products in the French capital over the past year. Her weekly dry cleaning bill alone was said to be £30,000.

Every time the Princess and her entourage visited a shop a representative would offer staff an embossed document stating “Payment to Follow”. Jamila Boushaba, who runs the O Caprices De Lili lingerie store in Paris, confirmed that she was still waiting for £60,000 spent on a range of hugely expensive undergarments. Mrs Boushaba’s boutique is opposite the George V and was regularly visited by Princess Maha. “She was a very good customer for eight years, but then simply stopped paying,” said Mrs Boushaba.

Diamond“I made a delivery of lingerie to the George V, but payment never arrived. Every time we called, we were told the bill would be settled the next day. It never was. “When we contacted the Saudi Ambassador in Paris he said there was nothing he could do for us.” Others who are owed money include fashion chain Dior, and jewellery shops Chaumet and Victoria Casal. Jacky Giami, proprietor of clothes shop Key Largo, said the Princess stripped his shelves of some £130,000 of casual wear – some seven per cent of is annual turnover. “We know the family well – they’re in Paris a lot. She’s not the kind of customer where you ask for a deposit, or to ask to see a piece of identity,” said Giami, who has launched civil proceedings through the Paris courts to seize assets.

But Princess Maha is claiming diplomatic immunity thanks to her husband’s status. In all, some 30 stores are seeking money from the Princess, including the Hotel Crillon, where she stayed before holing up in the George V, which is owned by her nephew, Prince Al Waleed.