Saudi prince loses court ruling against woman who claims she secretly married his father King Fahd
Jun 10, 2014
The late King of Saudi Arabia, his ‘secret’ Christian wife and the missing £12 million: Janan Harb threatens to ‘spill the beans’ if ‘promised’ money isn’t paid
LONDON: In a landmark case, the “secret” Christian wife of the late King of Saudi Arabia has won the right to sue his son and Saudi prince for breaching a contract to pay £12 million to her for retracting damaging allegations about the late King.
Janan George Harb, the widow of late King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz (the former King of Saudi Arabia and custodian of the two holy Mosques who passed away in 2005), is suing the King’s son, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd, for breach of contract in the United Kingdom.
The High Court in London saw Mrs Justice Rose rule on Monday that the claim could proceed despite Prince Aziz claiming “state immunity” from the British legal system.
The Prince supposedly entered into a contract with Janan Harb — now a British citizen — in 2003 at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The Prince promised to pay Harb £12 million and to transfer two properties in Chelsea to her daughters in exchange for a Statutory Declaration from Janan Harb withdrawing certain assertions she had made in her matrimonial proceedings against the King.
Janan Harb (65) was married to King Fahd in 1968, when she was 19 and was forced to leave Saudi Arabia before King Fahd ascended to the throne in 1982.
“After 12 years of persistence I am very happy and relieved,” Janan Harb said after the 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.”
Mandeep Kaur Virdee, solicitor-advocate at Neumans LLP, acting for Mrs Harb said, “Mrs Harb fulfilled her end of the contract, however, the Prince failed to pay her the £12 million and transfer the two properties to her daughters as agreed. The Prince acknowledged the claim made by Harb, but refused to submit to UK jurisdiction. Instead, the Prince made an immunity application, which was heard on May 1, 2014. The Prince claimed that he did not submit to our UK jurisdiction for reasons of relying on his late father’s immunity as a sovereign head of state.
“Janan Harb is passionate about sharing her personal account of what it is truly like to be married to a Saudi King and believes the exposure will be of public interest. Her story has received international interest from film producers and she is currently in detailed discussions to progress the adaptation of her book into a film. There are also negotiations under way with regard to the publishing of her book in advance of this.” Virdee said.
Mrs Justice Rose concluded that she shall “dismiss the Prince’s application and hold that the Prince cannot rely on a defence of state immunity to defeat Harb’s claim.”
Virdee said, “We are delighted with the outcome of this Judgment. The law surrounding this area has already established, confirming that personal immunity ceases when a head of State is no longer in office for any reason. The Prince’s application sought to extend the personal immunity privilege by suggesting that if a Sovereign dies whilst still an acting monarch, the deceased and their agents could continue to enjoy the privilege of personal immunity. It was a dangerous attempt to extend the scope of personal immunity.
She added, “This Judgment confirms that once a Sovereign is out of office for whatever reason, including death, personal immunity does not survive. We have been made aware that Middle Eastern Royals are in the habit of claiming immunity in jurisdictions where claims have been made against them. This judgment is now legal precedent and sends a strong message that the UK Courts will not allow the privilege afforded to those claiming sovereign or diplomatic immunity to be abused in our jurisdiction.” This Judgment is a prime example of why the UK Courts are highly respected globally.
Read more on Janan George Harb V His Royal Highness Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd Abdul Aziz
Lawyers for Prince Abdul Aziz, the king’s son, argued he had “state immunity” and the court had no jurisdiction to try Mrs Harb’s claim. But Mrs Justice Rose threw out the prince’s argument, opening the way for a full hearing which risks embarrassing the House of Saud. Telegraph UK
’Had the Prince fulfilled his part of the agreement in 2003, Janan Harb would not have suffered such financial distress to the point that she declared herself bankrupt’ Neumans LLP – Press release – Mandeep Kaur Virdee
Last updated: June 10, 2014
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