Singapore's former national badminton player Fatimah Kumin Lim has been charged with the theft of two diamond rings worth £8.7 million (RM43.5 million) belonging to the former wife of the Sultan of Brunei.
Fatimah, the 2002 Commonwealth Games silver medallist, was employed as the bodyguard and personal assistant of Mariam Aziz in 2009.
The Singapore Straits Times reported that the 35-year-old Fatimah had denied the charges against her and will defend herself during a 10-day hearing in London next year.
The dates for her case were fixed when she appeared at the Islesworth Crown Court last Tuesday.
According to the Singapore daily, Fatimah had first been charged earlier last month at the Hammersmith Magistrates Court in West London under the name of Waheeda Abdullah.
Prior to being charged, Fatimah had been extradited from Singapore, where she had been detained since May, at the request of British authorities.
Fatimah is alleged to have stolen two rare diamonds from the home of Mariam in Kensington, West London, between July and December 2009.
Mariam used to be married to Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. The couple had four children together before divorcing in 2003 after 22 years of marriage, the Straits Times reported.
The two stolen rare diamonds are a 12.71-carat pear-shaped, flawless and vivid blue stone worth £8.1 million while the other cut-cornered yellow diamond is valued at about £640,000.
The on-going criminal trial is a sequel to the civil suit last year in London which Mariam won against Fatimah for the loss of the two diamonds and an expensive bracelet.
But unlike the civil suit which Fatimah didn't turn up for, the criminal trial will see her appear in court to face the charges.
In the civil suit, Fatimah was found liable for the losses and ordered to repay Mariam US$7.88 million (RM23.6 million).
Mariam's legal representatives also took steps later to recover the monies from Fatimah through various sources including the auctioning of her Tanglin condominium in Singapore and from her bank accounts. - September 1, 2013.