Court rules Dubai leader Sheikh Mohammad must pay £554m to ex-wife

Sheikh Mohammad. Pic: Saeed Dahab.

A British judge on Tuesday ordered the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum, to pay a record sum of more than £550 million to his ex-wife Princess Haya bint al-Hussain.

The High Court in London ordered that Sheikh Mohammad must pay a lump sum of £251.5 million to the princess within three months and also provide £5.6 million annually for their two children. The sum will be secured by HSBC bank guarantee of £290 million.

The settlement money will be used for the upkeep of the princess’s mansion near Kensington Palace in London, her main residence in Egham, Surrey and security expenses of her and their children Jalila, 14 and Zayed, 9.

Judge Philip Moor said the family needed “watertight security” and the main threat to the princess and her children came from her ex-husband.

He said: “There is a clear and ever-present risk to these children that is almost certain to persist until they obtain their independence. There will remain a clear and ever-present risk to Princess Haya for the remainder of her life, whether it be from Sheikh Mohammed or just from the normal terrorist and other threats.”

Sheikh Mohammad has kidnapped and imprisoned at least two of his daughters in the past who have tried to run away.

Although the lawyers of princess had sought £1.4 billion from al-Maktoum, she was paid £900 million less than what was originally demanded.

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The testimony of Princess Haya continued for seven hours and she said the payment would remove her and their children from the hold of Sheikh Mohammad and would allow her for a clean break.

Credit: HRH Princess Haya Bint al Hussein of Jordan meets with Tracy Edwards MBE in Jordan, to discuss memories of HM King Hussein of Jordan

She told the court: “I really want to be free and I want them to be free.”

The settlement is considered the biggest divorce case in the legal history of Britain. It started when princess Haya fled to the UK in April 2019 fearing for her life. Reportedly, she had started an illicit affair with one of her British bodyguards.

Princess Haya is the sixth and the youngest wife of al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and they married in 2004. She is also the sister of King Abdullah of Jordan. The court heard that the ruler divorced the princess under Sharia law in 2019.

There will also be a budget for her holidays, salaries for a nurse and a nanny, armoured vehicles for transporting the family and a budget for taking care of various pets and ponies.

Moor said that he has taken the case entirely out of the ordinary given the exceptional wealth and remarkable standard of living enjoyed by the children during the marriage.

The lawyers of the princess told the court that she and their children had access to limitless money during the time when they were together. She had access to over a dozen luxurious mansions, a fleet of private planes and a £400 million yacht.

The ruling stated that she used to get £83 million every year for her household and a separate £9 million as spending money.

“I was very frightened. I was scared and that was the money that was available in that amount,” Princess Haya said when she was questioned during one of the hearings about £6.7 million she paid from the children’s bank accounts to blackmailers to cover up her affair with one of the bodyguards.

Three former bodyguards who were not named in court but were identified as Mr A, B and C have allegedly received money from the princess.

The judge heard about the alleged blackmail and said: “It sticks in the throat that these people have been able to get away with this and have not been charged.”

In his judgment, he said: “This was clearly a most unsatisfactory episode. I realise I have not heard from the alleged blackmailers but nobody should be blackmailed and HRH must have been very frightened at this point. It would have been better if she had used her own allowance to fund all these payments.”

She said: “We always kept it to a very high standard and that is the amount of people needed to keep it as it is now.”

The court also said in its ruling that during one of the summer vacations in Italy the family spent £631,000 and on another occasion, the hotel bill in Greece was 274,000 euros.

Judge Moor said that the amount for holidays would be 5.1 million pounds per year with one million pounds for food expenditure and hiring private plane.

Earlier, it was revealed that the ruler of Dubai had sanctioned the use of Israeli-made spyware to hack Princess Haya’s phone, which the former had denied.

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