Published March 07, 2012
LONDON -- The Sultan of Brunei's ex-wife has accused a female bodyguard of stealing £12 million ($18.8 million) worth of rare diamonds from her London home and replacing them with worthless replicas.
Mariam Aziz, the former royal consort, claims that her former minder Fatimah Kumin Lim tricked her daughter into loaning her the jewels, which Lim then sold to pay gambling debts.
Lim, a 34-year-old former badminton champion, previously confessed to the crime in Brunei, but now claims that the confession was "forced" out of her in police questioning, The (London) Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
She claims that 55-year-old Aziz ran up the gambling debts in her name and then ordered her to sell the stones to settle the debts.
Aziz's daughter, Afifa Abdullah, 26, told London's High Court that she thought of Lim as a "best friend" and trusted her when she twice borrowed two precious blue and diamond rings from her mother's jewelry collection.
Lim, who is not attending the hearing and says she is unrepresented due to lack of funding, is also accused of taking a £3.5 million diamond bracelet from her employer in 2008 and selling it.
The hearing continues.