By: John Roberts
|Saudi King with his grandchildren|
The Princess Maha al-Sudairi was caught trying to escape from a luxury hotel in Paris in the dark of the night leaving her entourage of 60 people and an unpaid bill of $7.4 million behind.
Police were called to the scene, and the Embassy of Saudi Arabia also made contact in the incident. As the former wife of the second man in line to the throne, the Princess was devoid of money after she has been occupying an entire hotel floor since Christmas. She was not arrested or charged as she has diplomatic immunity.
This means that there is virtually no way to force her to release the funds, and five-star Shangri-La Hotel is facing a real battle. The head of establishment has tried to quell the rumors, saying that there are no problems with any of the guests and "there are no bills outstanding at the time" which is technically true, since the princess was prevented to jump on it.
Understandably, the hotel was going to do everything possible to protect their customers, even those that seem to be a flight risk in financial trouble. But having this particular situation in its list of customers appears to be as helpful as having monopoly money; it is not the first time a hotel has suffered cash flow problems from the princess.
Only a few years ago, while in another five star hotel in Paris, al-Sudairi spent money like it was going out of fashion. She was accompanied by a representative of her entourage, who are store managers with an official "pay forward" the document. Unfortunately, he never paid.
The princess became a royal pain in the neck buying international luxury brands like Dior and
Chaumet and exclusive Parisian boutiques as O Caprices de Lili, because most of the U.S. $15 million she spent at 30 stores were not paid. However, al-Sudairi’s diplomatic status meant that there was nothing they could do. As a royal aide, told reporters: "I'm afraid you cannot get the payment of bills for the princess’s panties."
It is unclear whether the chain Shangri-La Hotel will try to bring the matter before the court, but judging by past experience, it simply will join the company Crillion Hotel and the George V both of which still are waiting for payment to follow.