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Thu 20 Feb 2014 07:21 PM

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Woman in 'fake' Saudi princess case wins $20m London legal battle

Sarah Al Amoudi was cleared of allegations she is a Dubai prostitute posing as a Saudi royal as part of a property fraud

Woman in 'fake' Saudi princess case wins $20m London legal battle
Justice

The woman at the centre of a high profile $20m London legal battle, in which she was accused of being a Dubai prostitute who had posed as a Saudi princess as part of an elaborate property fraud, has been vindicated in a judgement issued by the London High Court on Thursday.

The defendant in the case, named as Sarah Al Amoudi, was accused by British property developers Amanda Clutterbuck and Ian Paton of posing as the daughter of one of Saudi Arabia's richest princes in order to persuade them to sign title deeds for six luxury London apartments worth £14m ($20.8m) into her name.

Clutterbuck and Paton claim they made the transfer because Ms Al Amoudi had claimed 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 had used her connection to persuade the Sheikh to fund a lucrative property deal.

“The promised funding from Ms 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,” Stuart Cakebread, the legal representative for Clutterbuck and Paton, was quoted as saying in court by the Daily Telegraph.

However, Ms Al Amoudi, told the court that while she was indeed a wealthy woman with a lavish lifestyle she had never claimed to a Saudi princess and the disputed properties were signed over to her as repayment for loans she had given Paton, with whom she was having a romantic relationship with since 2001.

In a judgement issued today, Justice Asplin ruled in favour of Ms Al Amoudi’s account of events.

While the judge said Ms Al Amoudi’s was “extremely difficult to follow and found her to be a deeply unsatisfactory witness” who “verged on the hysterical and barely made any sense” she agreed with the assertion that Ms Al Amoudi had never claimed to be a Saudi princess and the properties were lawfully transferred to her.

The judgment was equally critical of the developers’ performance in court. Paton was dismissed as an “unreliable and unsatisfactory witness” who was prone to “long, rambling answers” and Clutterbuck was deemed to be “repetitious and guarded” and “often failed to answer the questions put to her.”

The 108-page verdict also reiterated that Ms Al Amoudi was not the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi and had never claimed to be. This has been backed up by the Sheikh’s UK-based legal representatives and in an affidavit signed by Ms Al Amoudi herself.

During the high profile trial, Ms Al Amoudi arrived in court in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce with an ‘HRH’ number plate and was accompanied by three bodyguards. British tabloid headlines dubbed her “the vamp in the veil” and reports claimed she had been in relationships with actors Colin Farrell and Joaquin Phoenix and had worked as a prostitute in Dubai and London.

It was claimed she received a weekly allowance of £100,000, which was delivered to London from Saudi Arabia each week in a suitcase, and she admitted she was prone to lavish spending sprees due to her addiction to shopping.

Soon after the judgment was issued, Ms Al Amoudi issued the following statement to the press: “I am very grateful and relieved that this long and extremely stressful ordeal has at last come to an end with the claims made against me being completely dismissed.

“I am very pleased that the judge has found that there never have been any joint ventures or business dealings between me and the claimants, that the claimants have no interest whatsoever in any of my properties, and that their allegations of misrepresentation and fraud are wholly unfounded.

“Both before and during the trial the claimants have tried to put pressure on me and those supporting me by making very nasty personal allegations about my character. They have been able to make these, even though they are untrue and have been found to be unsupported by evidence, under the cover of these proceedings.

“The claimants’ briefing of the press about these allegations has resulted in deeply unpleasant newspaper reports about me, both before, during and since the trial. The judge has made detailed findings of fact in my favour on all of the key allegations. The outcome does, however, reaffirm my absolute belief in British justice.

Speaking to Associated Press, Stuart Cakebread, the legal representative for Clutterbuck and Paton, dismissed Ms Al Amoudi’s case as "a farrago of lies" and continued to claim that her "absurd performance where she pretends to be a Saudi princess” had resulted in his clients being the victims of "a very accomplished fraud".

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Muneer 6 years ago

No matter whose daughter Ms Amoudi was pretending to be, I find it hard to understand how she was able to persuade Paton and Clutterbuck and presumably their solicitors and banks "to sign title deeds for six luxury London apartments worth £14m ($20.8m) into her name". Lots of red faces !

With names like Clutterbuck and Cakebread this case sounds like an elaborate hoax.