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Page last updated at 21:37 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 22:37 UK

Saudi pays up in Paris shop row

George V hotel in Paris
A bailiff went to the Georges V hotel in Paris

A Saudi princess who allegedly owed thousands of dollars in shopping bills in Paris has agreed to pay up after a bailiff visited her hotel, lawyers say.

Maha al-Sudairi, the wife of the Saudi interior minister, is paying more than $120,000 (85,700 euros; £72,800) to one store, according to its lawyer.

It came after a court order was issued allowing the seizure of her belongings.

The bailiff had gone to the luxury George V hotel, just off the famous Champs Elysee in the French capital.

Maha al-Sudairi has been staying at the hotel, which is owned by her nephew.

She has diplomatic immunity because of her husband's status.

Relief

The decision to settle the bill followed the court order obtained on behalf of the clothing chain, Key Largo. It was owed $125,000.

The shop's lawyer, Jacky Benazerah, said repeated demands for payment had been ignored and described the settlement as a relief.

He said: "The operation ordered by the judge began at 4.30pm in the presence of the local police chief. It seems that during the operation the Saudi consul turned up in person and, following talks, a guaranteed cheque for the total sum owed to my client was handed over."

But the BBC's Alasdair Sandford, in Paris, says the princess allegedly owes large sums to several chic Parisian stores from various shopping sprees carried out over the past year.

One lingerie store opposite the Georges V says it has been unable to recoup nearly $100,000.

This is not the first time the Saudi princess has made headlines.

In 1995, she was accused of beating a servant in Florida whom she suspected of stealing from her. No charges were filed.



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