LONDON – A British court has ordered the ruler of Dubai to pay 550 million pounds ($730 million) to his ex-wife and their children, one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history.
A High Court judge said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must pay £251.5 million to his UK-based sixth wife, Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, and 14-year-old Jalila and 9-year-old Zayed in a bank for their children. supported by the payment. 290 million pounds guaranteed.
The total amount the children will receive can be more or less than £290 million, depending on factors such as how long they live and whether they reconcile with their fathers.
The agreement includes £11 million a year to cover security costs if Princess Haya and the children are minors.
In a November ruling that was made public on Tuesday, Judge Philip Moore said the family needed “water-tight protection”, and that “absolutely specific”, the main threat to them was Sheikh Mohammed rather than outside sources. came from.
Haya, 47, fled to the UK in 2019 and sought custody of her two children through the British courts. The princess, who is the daughter of the late Jordanian King Hussein, said she was “intimidated” by her husband, who is alleged to have ordered the forced return of their two daughters to the Gulf emirate.
A protracted battle in Britain’s family courts has exposed personal and financial details about the powerful but public-shy Gulf royals, who are among the world’s richest. Sheikh Mohammed, 72, is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, and a leading horse breeder. The founder of the successful Godolphin horse racing stable, he is on friendly terms with Queen Elizabeth II.
A graduate of Oxford University, Haya is also a keen equestrian and competed in show jumping for Jordan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
As evidence in court, Princess Haya said she had paid £6.7 million to four of her security staff, who told her about her relationship with a bodyguard, to sell jewelry and receive money from her daughter’s bank account. Blackmailed to get
Upon learning of the affair, Sheikh Mohammed published a poem titled ‘You Lived’; You are dead,” Princess Haya interpreted as a threat.
A separate British family court judge ruled in October that Sheikh Mohammed had authorized the hacking of Princess Haya’s phone during their legal battle.
Judge Andrew MacFarlane said the sheikh gave his “express or implied authority” to hack the phones of the princess and her lawyers using Pegasus spyware produced by the NSO Group of Israel, the court said. The software is specifically licensed to nation states for use by their security services.
Sheikh Mohammed denied knowledge of the hacking.
MacFarlane had previously ruled that Sheikh Mohamed had launched a campaign of fear and intimidation against his estranged wife and “ordered the abduction and the abduction of her two adult daughters: Sheikha Shamsa and her sister Sheikha Latifa in August 2000 and return to Dubai.” forced”. 2002 and again in 2018.
The divorce bill eclipsed the £450 million settlement Tatiana Akhmedova had to break from Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov in 2016, cited as Britain’s costliest divorce at the time.
The settlement includes a holiday budget of £5.1 million, an annual sum of just over £450,000 for the children’s staff and about £275,000 for their animals, which include two ponies and a horse. Haya was awarded millions to make up for lost property upon leaving Dubai, including £13.5 million for jewelry and what the judge called a “relatively modest amount” of £1 million for clothing.
It is possible, but rare, for a financial divorce settlement to be appealed in England.
A spokesman for Sheikh Mohamed said in a statement that the ruler “has always ensured that his children are provided for. The court has now given its verdict on the finances and does not intend to comment further.”