A supposed Saudi princess claimed yesterday that she is so wealthy she has splashed out almost £1million on perfume in the past two months.
Her spree has created an Aladdin’s cave-style display of opulence which has to be seen to be believed, the High Court heard.
Sara Al Amoudi is accused of being a one-time penniless Ethiopian prostitute who posed as a princess to swindle London property developers Amanda Clutterbuck and Ian Paton out of luxury flats worth £14million.
But yesterday the mysterious ‘princess’ – whose age has been given as between 31 and 45 – wept in court as she assured the judge she had never been an impoverished prostitute, that her wealth was genuine and that she had been on the shopping sprees to prove it.
Miss Al Amoudi, who arrived at the London court in a Rolls Royce with numberplates reading ‘HRH’, told judge Sarah Asplin her shopping addiction was so serious she had sought medical help.
In heavily accented English, Miss Al Amoudi said: ‘I have a problem with shopping – I go to doctor. In the last two months my perfume, only the perfume – $1.4million (£912,000). I can show you the pictures.’
Miss Al Amoudi arrived at court in a full burka and five-inch platform heels.
At the suggestion of the judge she removed her veil in the witness box, but still attempted to keep her face hidden from onlookers.
She claims she had an affair with her alleged victim Mr Paton, 45, behind the back of his lover and business partner Miss Clutterbuck, 56, and that he borrowed and stole some £5million of pocket money she received from Saudi Arabia.
She also insists that when six exclusive flats in Knightsbridge and Chelsea were signed over to her name, it was simply repayment for his thefts and loans.
But Mr Paton and Miss Clutterbuck say she swindled them by pretending she had millions to invest in a massive property project – allegedly claiming to be an estranged wife of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, 88 – and are demanding £14million from her.
Yesterday, Miss Al Amoudi insisted ‘in the name of Allah’ that she was an honest woman given some £10million in cash by her family in the past decade.
She claimed she kept money hidden under her bed and entrusted Mr Paton with half her cash for ‘safekeeping’, and insisted her only problems were wild spending.
Miss Al Amoudi said: ‘I’m afraid I’m addicted to spending money, and get through enormous amounts of cash. I can easily spend £50,000 to £100,000 in one spree.’
At any one time she would have ‘a minimum of £100,000 and sometimes £400,000’ stashed under a piece of carpet beneath her bed, she said.
She added that in Saudi Arabia she was considered ‘like a criminal’ because she had an adulterous relationship, so her family had to send her pocket money in cash stuffed into suitcases.
Miss Al Amoudi claimed she married at 13 to a man she refused to name, saying that he was now a threat to her life and that of her 13-year-old daughter.
But she claimed her ‘lover’ Mr Paton took advantage of her and that now he and Miss Clutterbuck were lying about her.
Miss Al Amoudi said: ‘They say I’m a prostitute. It’s not true. I swear to Allah I’m not liar.’ She said Mr Paton was a drug user. He denies taking crack cocaine.
Miss Al Amoudi was accused by a male model boyfriend in a previous criminal case of having regularly drunk herself into a stupor at nightclubs.
But yesterday, when asked by Stuart Cakebread, barrister for the plaintiffs: ‘Do you drink?’, she said: ‘I will not answer this question because I’m a Muslim woman.’
The court had earlier heard witness Negat Ali, an Ethiopia-born south London furniture dealer, claim the defendant was a former prostitute originally from Ethiopia.
She claims she came forward after seeing a picture of Miss Al Amoudi’s unveiled face in the Daily Mail.
Miss Ali claimed she first met the ‘princess’ in 1985 when Miss Al Amoudi was operating under a different name and was helping her mother run a restaurant in the Yemen notorious for luring in rich men and conning them. She said they fell out later after Miss Al Amoudi failed to repay a £500 loan.
Miss Ali denied being a disgruntled former maid of the ‘princess’.
The case continues.