A woman accused of swindling a couple out of property worth £14 million by posing as a Saudi princess was actually a prostitute, a court heard.
Sara Al Amoudi reportedly boasted of ‘limitless wealth’, and convinced HSBC to lend her £4million, while a statement from Barclays suggested she had £165million in her account.
But property developers Amanda Clutterbuck, 56, and Ian Paton, 45, say the ‘princess’ actually worked as a prostitute with her two sisters in a £750,000 flat yards from Harrods.
A judge also urged Miss Al Amoudi to remove her burka in court for the complex civil claim from Miss Clutterbuck and Mr Paton for the value of six luxurious London properties they signed over to her.
Miss Al Amoudi, who counts peers among her friends and is said to have dated actor Colin Farrell, earned the nickname ‘the vamp in the veil’ following a previous court case in which ex-boyfriend Patrick Ribbsaeter, a Swedish model, was cleared of assaulting her chauffeur.
He claimed that Miss Al Amoudi – whose age has been variously reported as 30 and 43 – regularly discarded her veil to go to nightclubs and drink herself into a stupor.
London’s High Court heard how Mr Paton was introduced to Miss Al Amoudi about ten years ago by another property developer, Elliot Nichol. Miss Al Amoudi, Mr Paton and Miss Clutterbuck then became involved in a multimillion-pound scheme to redevelop prime sites in the capital.
Mr Paton and Miss Clutterbuck claim they lost everything when the venture collapsed – and realised they had been tricked.
Miss Clutterbuck said in a statement: ‘I thought I was living through an Alfred Hitchcock film, in which reality seemed to be totally distorted. Mr Nichol had drunkenly admitted that the so-called Saudi Arabian “princesses” were in fact prostitutes.’
The couple’s counsel, Stuart Cakebread, told the court: ‘It is the claimants’ case that she repeatedly made the representation that she was married to a member of the Saudi royal family and that she had access to limitless wealth because of her father.’
He claimed Miss Al Amoudi had named two different men as her father: Ethiopian-born billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi – who this week issued a denial through his London solicitors – and his cousin Sheikh Mohammed Aboud Al Amoudi, who also denies being related to her.
Jonathan Seitler, defending, said the case should not get ‘bogged down in some of the detail surrounding the question of identity’.
He stressed that while Miss Al Amoudi was indeed ‘a person of substantial means’, her wealth played no part in making Miss Clutterbuck and Mr Paton part with any money.
Mr Seitler has already alleged that Mr Paton had a lengthy affair with Miss Al Amoudi and borrowed and stole millions from her, before repaying her with the very properties on which the case is centred.
The court also heard how hereditary peer Lord Mereworth, 83, a close friend of Miss Al Amoudi, had phoned Miss Clutterbuck to tell her Mr Paton was a crack cocaine addict.
Mr Paton denies both claims.
Another twist came when judge Sarah Asplin told Mr Seitler that ‘given the fact that the claim is fraudulent misrepresentation, it seems to me that it may make a difference to me whether or not your client is entirely veiled’.
The case continues.