Saudi divorcee loses legal fight over £20m investment losses

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A WEALTHY Saudi divorcee yesterday lost a High Court fight with financial advisers after losing more than £20m when investments failed.

Basma Al Sulaiman was given around £40m as part of a divorce settlement 10 years ago after her marriage to a member of one of Saudi Arabia’s richest families ended, a High Court judge heard.

But she lost about £21m after markets collapsed, Mr Justice Cooke was told.

Ms Al Sulaiman, who is in her 50s, sued, claiming that a bank and an investment firm had given her bad advice. Credit Suisse Securities and Plurimi Capital disputed her claim, saying she “knew the risks” and was the author of her own losses.

Mr Justice Cooke yesterday ruled against her, saying she attempted to “hold others liable for her own risk-taking”.

Ms Al Sulaiman told a High Court hearing in London she was “beset by banks and others like vultures” wanting to “aid her” in investing divorce settlement cash following the break-up of her marriage to Walid Al Juffali.

The judge said she married Mr Al Juffali aged 21 and for the next 21 years “all of her day-to-day requirements were taken care of by her husband’s family office”.

“She says that she was an inexperienced investor who was in the hands of her advisers, relied on them to tell orally what the risks were and was led into taking risks she would never have taken, had they been explained properly to her,” said Mr Justice Cooke, in a written ruling published yesterday after a hearing which ended earlier this month.

“They (Credit Suisse and Plurimi) say that she has been casting about for a way to make a claim in circumstances where she knew the risks she was running in investing for high yields and was essentially the author of her own losses.”

The judge concluded that neither Credit Suisse nor Plurimi were “in breach of statutory duty”.