Sara Al Amoudi, dubbed ‘Vamp in a Veil’, wins High Court battle after being accused of lying her way to a £14m property empire
11:07AM GMT 20 Feb 2014
The Saudi “princess” who was accused of being a “prostitute” and lying her way to a £14m property empire has triumphed in her High Court battle against two London property tycoons.
Sara Al Amoudi, dubbed “the vamp in the veil”, was said by property tycoons, Amanda Clutterbuck and Ian Patton, to be a “fake” who tricked them into transferring six multi-million-pound Knightsbridge properties into her name “at nominal cost.”
Ms Al Amoudi maintained throughout a month-long High Court hearing that she was the runaway daughter of a billionaire Saudi sheik.
She insisted she had received “millions of pounds in suitcases” from her mother, whilst facing claims that she was in fact “a penniless prostitute from the Yemen” masquerading as royalty.
Today Mrs Justice Asplin found that the properties were legally transferred into Ms Al Amoudi’s name by Mr Paton to pay off “loans” she made to him whilst the pair were enjoying a “clandestine relationship”.
However, despite finding that Ms Al Amoudi was indeed a woman of means with a connection to Saudi Arabia, the veil of mystery remains drawn around her identity.
During the enormously costly trial of the case, property developers Ms Clutterbuck and Mr Paton insisted Ms Al Amoudi used her royal guise to win their trust and fleece them of exclusive flats in Knightsbridge and Belgravia worth £14m.
But Ms Al Amoudi insisted it was she who was the victim of a con.
Her barrister, Jonathan Seitler QC, argued that the properties were “rightfully her’s”, she having been handed the keys by Mr Paton in repayment a loan.
But Stuart Cakebread, for Ms Clutterbuck and Mr Paton, called Ms Al Amoudi’s case “a farrago of lies” and “the most preposterous nonsense” and slammed her “absurd performance where she pretends to be a Saudi Princess.”
He argued that the property tycoons had been the victims of “a very accomplished fraud” during which they were induced to enter into a number of “joint venture” property deals with Ms Al Amoudi.
They said they did that in the belief that she was the daughter of Saudi sheik, Mohammed Hussein al Amoudi, who was said to be worth $6.9bn.
They transferred six properties into Ms Al Amoudi’s name at a fraction of their true worth, thinking they were providing security for a bigger property deal which would be funded by Ms Al Amoudi’s family, Mr Cakebread said.
The colourful trial saw Ms Al Amoudi claim she had a “spending addiction” which was funded by her royal connections and spent £1m on perfume in 8 weeks.
She was supported in court by 82-year-old peer, Lord Dominick Browne, who gave evidence on her behalf, declaring her “perfectly honest.”
She also told Mrs Justice Asplin that she had trusted Mr Paton because they had been lovers, despite him at the time being Ms Clutterbuck’s partner, a claim he vehemently denied.
Mrs Justice Asplin accepted evidence that Mr Paton and Ms Al-Amoudi were “boyfriend and girlfriend” and that £2.28m in cash, as well as the right to the valuable properties, were legally handed to Ms Al-Amoudi as “repayment of sums loaned by Ms Al-Amoudi to Mr Paton.”
As to her identity the judge said she had found it “unnecessary to determine whether the alleged representations as to her identity, status and source of wealth were false.”
Ms Al Amoudi insisted in evidence that she had never called herself a princess and had never claimed to be the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi. The judge said: “Had it been necessary, I would have found that her father is not the person [Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi] stated in the documents.”
She went on however: “I would have accepted that Ms Al-Amoudi is from, or at least connected with Saudi Arabia…(and) is a woman of some wealth.”
Ms Al Amoudi’s counter-claim for return of cash and jewellery she said she had given Mr Paton for safe-keeping failed, although he was ordered to hand over certain “documentation” in his possession.