Conman posed as an Arab prince to win woman's heart


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The Independent Online

A smooth-talking conman posing as an Arab prince won the heart of a young woman after impressing her with tales of his luxury houses, fast cars, private jet and ocean-going yacht, a court heard yesterday.

Rageb Daghdugh, 51, then proposed to his girlfriend, aged 27, and ran up a five- figure bill for a wedding that never happened.

Daghdugh, of Wilson Road, Stamshaw, Portsmouth, denies one count of obtaining services by deception between 18 and 23 April last year.

The charge alleges he obtained a pounds 15,000 floral display from Windsor florist Susan Barnes by falsely claiming he was Prince Azuldin Al Sanussi and had "sufficient funds" to pay for his order.

Michael Forward, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court: "This defendant, who presented himself as being a sophisticated businessman, debonair, worldly wise and, more importantly, filthy rich, was not the Omar Sharif figure that [his girlfriend] believed him to be, but had more in common with Reggie Perrin."

Mr Forward said Daghdugh met Miss Razaq at a dinner party thrown by her parents, in January 1996. "During the course of the dinner party, the defendant said he was a Libyan businessman, a dealer in precious stones, gold and jewellery and living in opulent surroundings by the lake in Geneva in Switzerland.

After a time, a relationship developed between him and the unmarried dentist and eventually he proposed.

Mr Forward said that his girlfriend asked her fiance if they could have their reception on board his yacht, preferably while it was moored at Tower Bridge.

He baulked at this idea, saying he found the waters of the Thames too muddy and suggested the quayside in Southampton instead.

Eventually the day came when his girlfriend and many other people found themselves at the quayside in Southampton, waiting for the arrival of his ocean-going yacht. They waited in vain, said Mr Forward.

The court heard that his girlfriend lent the defendant between £10,000 and £15,000 during their six-month relationship.

The case continues.