Saudi Arabia’s Princess Maha bint Mohammed bin Ahmad al-Sudairi reportedly tried to duck out on a US$20 million bill from some of Paris’s most exclusive boutiques and skip a US$7 million tab from a five-star hotel during her shopping sprees in the French capital.
The Saudi royalty and her entourage stayed at the Shangri-La Hotel in the 16th Arrondissement for five months, occupying 41 rooms, but at 3:30 a.m. of May 31, 2012, she tried to sneak out of the hotel without paying the tab, Vanity Fair reported.
It was a daring attempt, according to the entertainment magazine, because even if she chose an unholy hour to pull off her stunt, it was impossible not to get noticed. She had a retinue of about 60 people, and a fleet of limousines and other vehicles were waiting outside the hotel to collect her and her mountains of bags.
The incident resulted in a frantic standoff that involved calls to high-ranking diplomats and officials, the report said.
She was later allowed to leave, and the princess decided to check into the nearby Royal Monceau, owned by Qatar, a reliable ally of Saudi Arabia.
It was not the first time that Princess Maha tried to slip away without paying her bills. Just three years ago, she went on a shopping spree through the boutiques of the Avenue Montaigne, the Place Vendôme, and other well-heeled locations in the City of Lights, racking up bills that reached US$20 million.
The Princess, according to press accounts, was not in the habit of writing cheques for her purchases, but instead would ask an assistant to hand the merchant a fancy card stating, “Payment to follow”.
However, there were times when the I.O.U. was not settled.
“She was a very good customer for eight years but then simply stopped paying,” the proprietor of the lingerie store O Caprices de Lili was quoted as saying. At the time, the store was awaiting payment for a bill of nearly US$100,000.
Leisurewear store Key Largo claimed the princess had not paid almost US$125,000 worth of merchandise.
[Source: Dailymail] (June 3, 2012)
[Source: Vanity Fair] (April, 2015)
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