The trial has begun in the London High Court of a woman accused of a $20m property fraud by claiming to be a Saudi princess and the daughter of one of the kingdom’s richest men, it was reported.
Sara Al Amoudi, who arrived at the London High Court in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce with an ‘HRH’ number plate and accompanied by three bodyguards, claims to be the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, a Saudi businessman who was ranked the 63rd richest man in the world by Forbes in 2011 and is estimated to have a wealth of around $12.3bn.
She is accused by London property developers Amanda Clutterbuck and Ian Paton of being a fraud after they transferred six luxury London apartments worth £14m ($20.8m) into her name as part of a larger property deal which they believed would be funded by the Al Amoudi family.
Funds for the larger deal failed to materialise and Clutterbuck and Paton claimed the 30 year old woman refused to return ownership of the six apartments, which are based in upmarket London areas such as Knightsbridge and Belgravia, the court was told.
“By deploying her fraudulent misrepresentations, she persuaded them to transfer the properties to her at nominal cost. The only money she paid for the properties was in fact the costs of redeeming existing mortgages and charges on them which she largely funded with the monies she had already fraudulently obtained from HSBC Bank by representing herself to be someone she was not - the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi,” Stuart Cakebread, the legal representative for Clutterbuck and Paton, was quoted as saying in court by the Daily Telegraph.
"The promised funding from Miss Al Amoudi never materialised. She now refuses to transfer the titles to the properties back to Miss Clutterbuck and Mr Paton. Their case is that she is a fraud who lied to them (and) to banks in order to obtain loans, money (and) property. The identity of Ms Al Amoudi is a key issue in this action,” he added.
Lawyers representing Sheikh Al Amoudi told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “This woman is not our client's daughter."
Representatives from Ms Al Amoudi claimed she was receiving a weekly allowance of £100,000, which was delivered to London from Saudi Arabia each week in a suitcase and Paton was hired to manage these funds.
She denied she planned to enter into a joint venture with the couple and said the six properties were bought with the funds being managed by Paton.
Jonathan Seitler, Al Amoudi’s barrister, told the Daily Mail newspaper his client had been having a secret affair with Paton behind Clutterbuck’s back and this was part of the reason for the deterioration in the group’s relationship. “That’s absolutely false, that’s absolute nonsense,” Paton told the paper of the claim.
Dubbed ‘The Vamp in the Veil’ by the British media, Ms Al Amoudi claims to have dated footballer Freddie Ljungberg and actors Colin Farrell and Joaquin Phoenix and previously appeared in court in 2010 when her ex-boyfriend, Swedish model Patrick Ribbsaeter, was cleared of assaulting her chauffeur.
The case continues and Al Amoudi is set to give evidence this week.