I sold jewellery to pay debts: Brunei Sultan's ex-wife

Her gambling mentality was always chasing the money, she tells court, but denies blowing £3m in single spree

The Sultan of Brunei’s ex-wife, Madam Mariam Aziz, admitted selling jewellery worth £1 million to pay off gambling debts. She was giving evidence at the trial of her Singaporean bodyguard Fatimah Lim, accused of stealing from her. -- PHOTO: CENTRAL NEWS

London - The former wife of the Sultan of Brunei Mariam Aziz has admitted to a British court that she sold jewellery to pay off £1million (S$2 million) in gambling debts after sprees at a string of London casinos.

The court heard that the 57-year-old once lost £500,000 in one night, playing the tables, but she rejected claims that she also blew £3 million in a single spree, the Daily Mail reported yesterday. She told Isleworth Crown Court that the mentality of gambling was "chasing the money, chasing the money".

She was giving evidence last Friday at the trial of her Singaporean bodyguard Fatimah Lim, 35, a former national badminton player. Lim is accused of stealing diamonds worth £12 million from her employer, replacing them with replicas made by a London jeweller out of the mineral tanzanite and glass. Lim is also accused of stealing an eight-diamond bracelet worth around £3.3 million, which the Bruneian royal gave to her for safekeeping in May 2008, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Lim, who won a silver medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, has denied all the charges, which carry a maximum 10-year jail term under Britain's Theft Act.