Sunday 21 January 2018

Saudi prince loses court ruling against woman who claims she secretly married his father King Fahd

The High Court in England
The High Court in England

Brian Farmer

A Saudi prince has lost an early round of a multi-million legal battle with a woman who says she was secretly married to his late father.

Prince Abdul Aziz - son of the late King Fahd - argued the High Court in England had no jurisdiction to try Janan Harb's claim because he had "state immunity".

But a High Court judge today ruled against him after a hearing in London.

Mrs Justice Rose said the prince could not rely on a defence of state immunity to defeat Mrs Harb's claim.

After the ruling, Mrs Harb, who is in her 60s, told reporters that she was "very happy and relieved".

Mrs Harb alleged she was secretly married to King Fahd - then a prince and minister of the interior of Saudi Arabia - in 1968 when she was 19, said Mrs Justice Rose.

She claimed that King Fahd, who acceded to the Saudi throne in 1982, had promised to provide for her financially for the rest of her life.

Mrs Harb says Prince Abdul Aziz had told her that he was prepared to honour the terms of his father's promise - and had offered to pay a lump sum of £12 million and to transfer to her the title of two central London properties.

She says she has not received the money or the properties - and has taken legal action.

The judge said Prince Abdul Aziz had not made any response "as regards the accuracy or otherwise" of Mrs Harb's allegations.

His submissions had been "limited to contesting the jurisdiction of the court".

Mrs Justice Rose said she had seen a letter from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in London saying the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supported the prince's claim for state immunity.

Mrs Justice Rose had analysed legal argument at a High Court hearing in London in May and handed down her ruling at a hearing in London today.

"After 12 years of persistence I am very happy and relieved," Mrs Harb told reporters after today's ruling.

"If the prince is going to appeal, I am going to accept the offer of the movie of the book I have written - I am going to spill the beans."

The prince was not at today's hearing.

Press Association

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