A multi-millionaire couple who say they were bankrupted by a woman nicknamed ‘The Vamp in the Veil’ have lost a six-year battle to face criminal charges.
Amanda Clutterbuck, 64, and Ian Paton, 53, accused Sara Al-Amoudi of claiming to be the daughter of a Saudi billionaire and an Arab ‘princess’ and claimed she cheated them out of a wallet real estate of £14 million.
But the couple lost a battle in the High Court in 2014 when a judge found six luxury Knightsbridge flats had been handed over to Ms Al-Amoudi by Mr Paton to repay loans from their ‘underground relationship’.
They have never accepted the judge’s ruling and have been campaigning for six years for the Met Police to press charges against Ms Al-Amoudi.
A police investigation has been closed and the couple have now lost a bid from the High Court to compel the force to reopen the investigation.
Ms Al-Amoudi’s identity remains shrouded in mystery, nearly a decade after the initial High Court battle where she earned the nickname ‘Vamp in the Veil’.
She would arrive at court in a Rolls Royce Phantom with HRH license plates and enter the building flanked by guards and wearing a selection of veils paired with five-inch platform heels.
Ms Clutterbuck and Mr Paton accused her of being a cocaine-using Ethiopian prostitute, suggesting she posed as a billionaire and calling her testimony in court a “farrago of lies”.
However, Madam Justice Asplin found that Ms Al-Amoudi was “a woman of some wealth”, with at least £2million in an offshore bank account, and she accepted that although Ms Al-Amoudi did not call herself a “princess”, she hinted that she had been married to “a member of the Saudi royal family”.
The judge dismissed the claim that she was a prostitute and accepted evidence from a member of the House of Lords that Mr Paton had ‘used Ms Al Amoudi’s money’.
The latest court battle has heard how the couple were told the Met Police investigation was closed and exercised their ‘victim’s right to examination’ which failed.
Seeking a judicial review of the decision, Mr Paton’s brother George Paton told Judge Richard Hermer QC that Ms Clutterbuck and Mr Paton had been financially ruined and their relatives had also lost millions.
“They lost their homes, they went bankrupt. Their extended families lost millions of pounds,” he said.
“The suspect (Ms Al-Amoudi) stole tens of millions of pounds worth of property and money. The loss of victims is extraordinary,” he said.
Mr Paton claimed there is evidence Ms Al-Amoudi used a fake Saudi birth certificate to establish her credentials with HSBC in 2008 and suggested they had ‘substantial and compelling DNA evidence’ on her true identity.
However, Met lawyers said detectives who analyzed the evidence pointed to numerous legal and evidentiary hurdles any prosecution would face before going to trial.
They pointed to the key fact that Ms Al-Amoudi had been exonerated in the couple’s fraud case brought to the High Court, where the standard of proof was far below that of a criminal court.
Detectives handling the case had also pointed out that they had received no proper cooperation from the Saudi government when trying to determine Ms Al-Amoudi’s true identity.
Police said there was insufficient evidence to prove Ms Amoudi was guilty of impersonation.
Delivering his decision, Judge Hermer said the couple’s case was “indisputable”.
“Events have clearly had a profound impact on them; by events, I mean not only the criminal behavior they claim to have suffered from, but also their obvious frustration at the lack of prosecution of this individual”.
But he said a court would be reluctant to interfere with a police decision that was made after detailed analysis.