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Geneva bookshop fined for royal shopping spree

A Geneva bookshop that opened during the night to allow members of the Saudi Arabian King's entourage to go shopping has been fined.

Fnac, a multimedia bookshop, has been at the centre of a recent controversy amid claims that it opened for business outside the city’s normal trading hours.

The bookshop made itself available for after-hours trading in May for servants and relatives of King Fahd – who has been spending the summer in Switzerland.

Swiss authorities pounced on the breach and this week fined the bookshop SFr10,000 ($6,788).

The case is just one of several incidents to have ruffled local feathers since the 81-year-old king arrived in Geneva, where he maintains a palatial mansion – the Dawn Villa – in the exclusive suburb of Collonge-Bellerive.

King Fahd was in the news again last month after making plans for surgery in a Geneva hospital. Critics accused the king of disrupting normal hospital operations.

Home sweet home

Then on Saturday, the French-language newspaper “Le Temps” reported news that King Fahd had handed ownership of his Geneva property to his second wife, Joharah al Ibrahim.

The paper said the transaction – which took place on July 22 – had earned canton Geneva around SFr5 million ($3.39 million) in transfer duties.

The king’s second wife is expected to be comfortable in her newly-acquired digs. The building covers an area of 17,105 square metres, and comes complete with a 776-square-metre garage.

swissinfo with agencies

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