A Saudi billionaire could make a ‘mockery’ of the English legal system if he uses diplomatic immunity to avoid paying his supermodel ex-wife a multi-million-pound divorce settlement, a senior MP has warned.
Tory MPAndrew Rosindell, a member of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, last night raised serious questions over the High Court case between oil tycoon Sheik Walid Juffali, 60, and Christina Estrada, a US-born Pirelli calendar girl.
Within months of proceedings starting in London, Mr Juffali was appointed St Lucia’s permanent representative to the UN’s International Maritime Organisation – despite spending little time on the Caribbean island and having no obvious experience of maritime affairs.
The move grants him diplomatic immunity – and so could leave Ms Estrada, 53, who has a 13-year-old daughter with the oil tycoon, without any financial agreement.
Mr Rosindell, a member of the all-party parliamentary group on the British Caribbean, said the appointment to the London-based IMO – a position usually held by St Lucia’s high commissioner – was ‘highly irregular’. He said: ‘Diplomatic immunity is a huge privilege, and should only be exercised in the most demanding and relevant instances. To use it for personal benefit risks making a mockery of diplomatic privileges.