In a ruling that seeks to dip into the Saudi royal family's coffers, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that a sheik and his brother-in-law prince must pay $223 million to the sheik's former wife.
Unlike previous judgments in the long-running case, the ruling by Judge Alban Niles is the first to demand accountability from the Saudi kingdom. The judgment was leveled against Sheika Dena Al Fassi's ex-husband, Sheik Mohammed Al Fassi, and his brother-in-law, Prince Turki bin Abdul Aziz, second in line to the throne of his brother King Fahd. The suit also includes the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dena Al Fassi was originally awarded $81 million in 1983. Aside from proceeds from the sale of the Beverly Hills property the couple once shared, the sheika has never been able to collect on the judgment, said her attorney, Marvin Mitchelson. The ruling in Los Angeles this week takes into account two decades of accrued interest.
The attorney said he hasn't received a response from the Saudi royal family, "but I expect one."
According to Mitchelson, the tradition of the royal family is to financially support their immediate and extended family. On a daily basis, the king gives millions of dollars to members of the royal family to spend, especially his brothers, the attorney said, adding that Al Fassi directly benefits from his relationship to the royal family.