KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian princess and her husband are suing American Express Bank for $20 million, claiming it committed fraud in foreign-exchange trading on their behalf.

Hajah Meriam, daughter of sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang state, and her husband, Mohamad Toufic al-Ozeir, received permission last week from the Kuala Lumpur High Court to summon American Express officials for their civil suit.

A spokesman for the family said the summons would be delivered to bank executives in Singapore this week.

"We have seen the newspaper reports" about the case, said a spokesman for the American Express Co. subsidiary in Singapore.

"Obviously the bank is concerned when any of its clients believe they have not received satisfactory service."

According to the writ filed in the high court, the couple deposited $475,000 in cash and $1 million of share certificates with American Express after signing a foreign-exchange-trading contract with the bank.

They say that for 20 days in October and November 1992 they did $400 million worth of foreign-exchange trading with American Express offices in London, New York, and Singapore.

The royal couple claim American Express "intentionally and fraudulently communicated false and misleading information" to them on price movements of foreign currencies in order to maximize the bank's profits.

They say they lost $450,000 in cash and another $100,000 in the "loss of profits" from the foreign exchange deals the bank executed on their behalf, and another $10 million in "general damages for deceit and fraud."

"The bank volunteered to have an independent arbitrator review the complaint," the American Express spokesman said. "The bank has not received a response to this suggestion and was surprised to read newspaper reports that a writ had been filed."

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