A UK court has ordered Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, to pay his ex-wife, Princess Haya, and their two children a divorce settlement which could reach over half a billion pounds.
The amount the court said is meant to protect them from the threat the ruler allegedly poses to them.
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This is the highest divorce settlement ever awarded by court in UK.
In a written judgment, Mr Justice Moor said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who doubles as prime minister of the United Arab Emirate, is “uniquely” the “main threat” to Haya and the children.
In 2019 Princess Haya fled to UK with her two children and since then, in a series of hearings concerned with custody, access and financial support, which have so far cost over £70m in legal fees, high court judges have found on the balance of probabilities that:
- Rashid al-Maktoum planned the abductions of his two children Princess Latifa and Princess Shamsu and subjecting Princess Haya to ”a campaign of intimidations”.
- That he hacked the Haya’s phone and that of five children of her associates and her lawyers using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware when the couple were locked in court proceedings.
- That in a significant threat to her life, his agents attempted to buy a £30m estate next to Haya’s Berkshire home.
Referring to the previous rulings, Moor, who ordered that the sheikh pay over £250m upfront to Haya and provide a bank guarantee of £290m for annual payments, said: “I am entirely satisfied that this means that, although HRH (her royal highness Haya) and the children would require security provision in any event, given their status and the general threats of terrorism and kidnap faced in such circumstances, they are particularly vulnerable and need water-tight security to ensure their continued safety and security in this country.
“Most importantly in this regard, and absolutely uniquely, the main threat they face is from HH (his highness the sheikh) himself not from outside sources. This is compounded by the full weight of the state that he has available to him as seen by his ability to make use of the Pegasus software, which is only available to governments.”
However, the high court judge ordered the costs of security for Haya’s lifetime to be paid upfront rather than annually as it would otherwise create a situation whereby it was in her ex-husband’s interests to reduce the payments so that it “weakened the defences of HRH against him”.
Haya was given £83m a year for her household spending plus an allowance of £9m per annum and ad hoc gifts while in Dubai.
What he asked during the proceeding was to compensate for items including jewellery and clothes that she lost as a result of the marital breakdown.