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Hotel staff and police held Saudi princess Maha Al-Sudairi, ex wife of Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, as she was trying to escape the hotel. The reason? She tried to dodge paying the bill at the five-star Shangri-La hotel in Paris where she had been living!
While there, she had incurred a bill a whopping US$ 7.4 million that she had not paid. This could have been an over sight or a royal indulgence and taken as such, if it had been any one but the notorious Maha Al-Sudairi!
For Princess Maha is known for extravagance, indulgence and leaving behind mountains (literally) of un paid bills!
In 2009, she ran up exorbitant amounts of bills in Paris, her favorite city. One bill was for €70,000 (roughly $98,800) in lingerie alone, which she refused to pay, and neither did the envoy from the Saudi royal family!
Obviously when her representative arrived at a Paris boutique with an order for the Princess leaving behind an IOU, no one suspected the amount would never be paid. It was after all an order from Saudi royalty known to throw around millions of bucks on frivolous shopping sprees. Not to mention the fact that she had been a former valued customer and (at that time), the wife of Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s interior minister.
Not only that there is a trail of bills of luxury items purchased but never paid for incurred in a series of luxury shops and hotels around Paris. Those left waiting for payment included the likes of Dior, Key Largo, O Caprices De Lili, Chaumet and Victoria Casal.
Nothing could be done because as a member of a royal family she has diplomatic immunity. There are dozens of businesses waiting to be paid (seemingly in vain) she is cocooned in the luxurious Four Seasons George V hotel, partly owned by her nephew, Prince Al Waleed bin Talal.
This is not the only time Saudi royalty; especially its women have been in news. There have been several instances and not just for luxurious life style and spending habits. In 1995, Princess Maha al-Sudairi was accused of beating a servant in Orange County whom she suspected of stealing $200,000 from her. No charges were filed.
In December 2001,the maid of Princess Buniah al-Saud, the niece of Saudi Arabia's King Fahd, complained that her employer beat her, smashed her head against a wall and pushed her down a flight of stairs. After being arrested and held one night in prison, the princess was released on bail of $5,000 and ordered to surrender her passport.
Another Saudi royal, Princess Hind al-Fassi, was found guilty by an Egyptian court of not paying for more than $1m worth of jewelry from a Cairo jewelry shop.
No one knows what causes these incidents. There is no way of fathoming why someone would spend such huge amounts on luxury items they hardly get to use. Or for that matter fail to pay for them when they are loaded with cash enough to buy these items ten times over.
May be its some psychological factor, a malaise borne of boredom and too much luxury or just a streak of adventure? Frankly, we’ve no idea.