By Muhammad Mussa
LONDON (AA) - The ruler of Dubai has been ordered by a British court to pay his ex-wife and her family a divorce settlement that could exceed more than half a billion dollars which would be used to protect the princess and their children.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum was ordered to pay more than $600 million to Princess Haya and their two children after a protracted and lengthy court case.
The ruling represents the largest divorce settlement handed down by a UK court.
“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,” Justice Philip Moor said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Since fleeing to the UK in 2019, Haya and her legal team have provided evidence to the court that her ex-husband ordered the kidnappings of his children, princesses Latifa and Shamsa, and frequently intimidated Haya.
Additionally, and with the use of the NSO Group’s Pegasus Spyware, al-Makhtoum hacked the phones of Haya, five of her associates and two lawyers for the duration of their court proceedings. Al-Makhtoum also attempted to buy a $39 million estate next to Haya’s home as part of his intimidation campaign.
The settlement will be paid in full and upfront to prevent the Dubai ruler from reducing the settlement which would negatively affect the princess’s defense. It will include payments to cover her security detail which is to last for as long as she is alive, education for their children and maintenance arrears.
A representative of al-Makhtoum said in a statement published by the Guardian magazine that he has “always ensured that his children are provided for. The court has now made its ruling on finances and he does not intend to comment further. He asks that the media respect the privacy of his children and do not intrude into their lives in the UK.”
In recent years, more light has been shed on the treatment by the ruler of Dubai on family members who are not in agreement with him or have attempted to flee from his control.
The most famous is the treatment of his daughter, Princess Latifa, who was kidnapped by commandos on a Yacht and put under house arrest in Dubai.