UK court orders UAE sheikh to pay ₤550m divorce settlement

The multi-billionaire ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has been ordered to pay his ex-wife, Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, and their two children over £554 million, equivalent to $740 million, by a U.K. court.

Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the sixth wife of Dubai’s billionaire ruler, has reportedly fled the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 31 million pounds and their two children following the break-up of their marriage.

This is believed to be one of the largest divorce settlements in British history.

Sheikh Mohammed will have to make an upfront payment of £251.5 million ($336 million) to Princess Haya, the 47-year-old daughter of Jordan’s late King Hussein and the youngest of six wives of Sheikh Mohammed.

The judgment provides Princess Haya with sums to cover the cost of running two multi-million pound properties – one next to London’s Kensington Palace, as well as her main residence in Egham, Surrey.

There is also provision for a substantial “security budget,” as well as holidays, salaries and accommodation for both a nurse and a nanny, armored vehicles for the family, and the cost of maintaining ponies and pets.

The court also awarded secured payments of £5.6 million ($7.48 million) per year to each of her two children, a 14-year-old daughter, and a nine-year-old son. These are to be secured with a £290m ($387 million) guarantee.

Princess Haya had fled from Dubai to Britain with her children in 2019, saying she was in fear of her life after learning that Sheikh Mohammed had previously abducted two of his other daughters – Sheikha Latifa and Sheikha Shamsa – and brought them back to Dubai against their will.

Sheikh Mohammed, 72, has denied the abductions – despite a 2020 High Court judgement saying the allegations were, in all probability, true.

He also published a poem entitled, “You lived, You Died”, which was assumed to threaten the princess after discovering she was having an affair with her British ex-Army bodyguard.

The High Court ruled this year that Sheikh Mohammed had illegally hacked the mobile phones of Princess Haya, her bodyguards, and her legal team, which includes the Tory peer Baroness Shackleton, using the highly controversial Pegasus spyware.

In the divorce judgment, Justice Moor said that, given earlier rulings, the princess and her two children were particularly vulnerable.

“There is a clear and ever-present risk to these children that is almost certain to persist until they obtain their independence,” the judge said. As for Princess Haya, he added, “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.”

Lawyers for Princess Haya insisted she had made no claims for her own future needs, but she was criticized during court hearings for her lavish spending.

Sheikh Mohammed said heirlooms given to his former wife would be sent on to her. He also said he has removed the online poem ascribed to him, which the princess perceived as a threat to her life.

He has stated that he has no intention of causing harm to the princess.

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