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Saudis fail to pay debts to Paris public hospitals

The Paris public hospital organisation has looked to attract rich patients from Russia, China and the Gulf
The Paris public hospital organisation has looked to attract rich patients from Russia, China and the Gulf Reuters/Charles Platiau

Saudi Arabian individuals and organisations, as well as the Gulf country's embassy in Paris, owe the French capital's public hospital organisation 3.7 million euros, according to Le Parisien.

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The report comes just after a controversial visit by King Salman of Saudi Arabia to the French Riviera, which prompted authorities to close a stretch of public beach near his villa to the dismay of locals.

The figure was confirmed by the Paris hospital association AP-HP after Patrick Pelloux, a well-known French physician and activist, tweeted about the debt: “Before leaving the King of Saudi Arabia could pay its bills of 3.7 million euros to the hospitals of Paris as a gesture of politeness!”

Debt to Paris public hospitals by foreign countries reached 120 million euros by late 2014, French news agency AFP reported last month.

In an effort to host rich patients from Russia, China and Gulf countries, the Paris organisation had signed an agreement in 2012 with the Lebanon-based company GlobeMed to act as a third party to facilitate payments.

The agreement was expected to attract millions of euros in extra revenue for hospitals.

A negative public response to the deal at the time prompted officials to promise that French patients would not be pushed out of hospitals for higher paying customers, with the proportion of paying foreign patients never to exceed 1 per cent of the total sick.

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