Friday, 6 November 2015

Janan Harb, widow of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia wins £25 million in High Court payout

Janan Harb outside the court having just won the case

High Court victory: The judge ruled in favour of Janan Harb over Prince Abdul Aziz

The "secret wife" of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia has been awarded a multimillion pound claim in the High Court after a judge ruled a son of the king had agreed to a huge payout.

The court heard Palestinian-born Janan Harb, 68, had "a lavish, high-maintenance lifestyle" and received payments previously "to buy her silence in respect of her relationship with the late king".

Although her behaviour was described as "unattractive", the judge ruled her claims about the agreement was credible and that she was entitled to more than £15 million and the value of two London apartments worth more than £5 million each.

The ruling was against Prince Abdul Aziz - son of another wife of the king - who denied an agreement was in place with Ms Harb when he the pair met the Dorchester Hotel on June 20 2003, while the king was seriously ill.

Ms Harb told the court she had secretly married the king in 1968 when she was 19. At the time, he was a prince and Saudi Arabia's minister of the interior.

In a seven-day hearing heard in July, Ms Harb said the king's relatives were opposed to their relationship because she was from a Christian family.

While giving evidence, Ms Harb said the king promised to provide for her financially for the rest of her life after they separated,

At the Dorchester in 2003, the prince agreed to pay her £12 million and hand back ownership of two flats in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea to keep his father's promise.

The prince made written statements to the court denying her claim but Mr Justice Peter Smith ruled there had been an agreement.

The judge ordered Prince Abdul Aziz to attend court in person to give evidence, but was told the current Saudi monarch King Salman and the royal family feared his appearance would result in "a media circus".

His absence led to an order to pay £25,000 to charity for contempt of court.

Giving judgment, the judge said the fact that the prince chose not to give evidence "severely handicapped - fatally so in my view" the attempt by his QC, Ian Mill, to put forward his case.

Speaking after the ruling, Ms Harb said: "This has been 12 years of misery for me. I am very happy with British justice.

"Thank God we have British justice. The prince wanted me to go to Saudi Arabia where he would have had power over all this.

"I am very relieved. I only wish he could have honoured his father's wishes... he is being very mean."

Ms Harb said she was banished from Saudi Arabia by the king's immediate family in 1970 after they "wrongly" blamed her for his addiction to methadone.

Text from The Evening Standard