Saudi Royals Stuck With Divorce Tab

King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia AP

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia and King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz must pay $216 million to settle a lingering legal dispute over the decades-old split of a colorful, high-living Saudi sheik and his estranged wife, a judge ruled.

Last summer, the court entered a $270 million judgment, which included interest, against Sheik Mohammed Al Fassi, a member of Saudi Arabia's royal family. Superior Court Judge Paul Gutman Thursday included the king and kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the judgment. Al Fassi died in December in Egypt of an infected hernia. He was 50.

"In our quest for justice, we are hoping to collect on this judgment, which is long overdue," said Marvin Mitchelson, Sheika Dena Al Fassi's attorney. Al Fassi and his wife, who had four children together, separated in 1983. His wife was awarded $81.5 million of the sheik's fortune and the amount has swelled through accrued interest.

Mitchelson went after the kingdom and family after he was unable to collect from Al Fassi.

There was no immediate comment from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C., media spokesman Tarik Allagany said.

The court last year authorized enforcement of an award dating back to the days when Al Fassi outraged home owners in Beverly Hills by painting brightly colored genitalia on Italian marble statues and installing plastic flowers outside his 38-room mansion on Sunset Boulevard.

The $2.4 million mansion was destroyed by arson on New Year's Day 1980 while neighbors shouted, "Burn! Burn! Burn!"

When Al Fassi and his wife separated, she was also given the destroyed home and the land on which it stood.

Mitchelson said Dena Al Fassi, who lives in Italy, was pleased with Thursday's ruling.

By Jeff Wilson
  • Lloyd Vries

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