Dubai ruler must provide $733 million to settle U.K. custody case

LONDON – Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, has been ordered by the London High Court to set a UK record of more than £ 554 million ($ 733 million) in a custody battle with his ex-wife over their two settle children.

The bulk of the massive award for Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, and the couple’s two children is to ensure their lifelong safety, not least to address the “grave risk” the sheikh poses for she represents herself, said the judge Philip Moor.

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The judge said, “She is asking no other price for herself than security,” and compensation for property she lost as a result of marital destruction.

He directed Mohammed to make a one-off payment of £ 251.5 million to Haya within three months for the upkeep of her British mansions, to cover the money she allegedly owed for jewelry and racehorses, as well as her future security expenses.

The Sheikh, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, has also been ordered to allocate £ 3million to the education of Jalila, 14, and Zayed, 9, and £ 9.6m in arrears. He was also asked to pay £ 11.2 million annually to support the children and keep them safe as they grow up.

These payments are guaranteed by a £ 290 million security held by HSBC bank. The final total, although some London lawyers believe it will be the largest public award ever ordered by an English family court, is less than half of the £ 1.4 billion Haya originally requested.

During the nearly seven-hour testimony, Haya, 47, said a large one-time payment would allow for a clean break and take away the sheikh’s influence over her and her children.

“I really want to be free and I want you to be free,” she told the court.

Jordan’s Princess Haya bint al-Hussein in London in September 2018. Daniel Leal / AFP – Getty Images File

The huge financial settlement is the latest development in a legal saga that began when the princess fled to the UK in April 2019, fearing for her safety after starting an affair with one of her bodyguards and a month after calling the Sheikh had an affair asked for a divorce.

Later that year, the London court ruled that Mohammed had carried out a campaign of threats and intimidation that made them fear for their lives and that he had previously abducted and abused two of his daughters through another marriage.

Earlier this year, the President of the Family Division in England and Wales, a senior judge, also found that Mohammed had ordered that the phones of Haya and her lawyers, one of whom is a parliamentary legislature, be hacked with the sophisticated Pegasus . government security software.

Haya hadn’t filed for a divorce settlement. She didn’t make a statement, but her lawyers said she had the right to charge billions as an ex-wife of one of the richest men in the world.

“The mother’s financial claims and the amount of compensation requested are unprecedented,” said the sheikh’s attorney, Nigel Dyer, during the hearings, which only came to light on Tuesday.

He said her demands were exaggerated and she was really campaigning for herself under the guise of her children. He also accused the princess of abusing the children’s money, saying she paid £ 6.7 million to blackmailers who were part of her security team to keep an affair quiet.

The court heard nothing from the alleged blackmailers. Haya said she used money from the children’s accounts because she was scared.

Haya’s attorney Nicholas Cusworth said legal fees exceeded £ 70 million over two and a half years, adding “the true extent of the colossal sums spent by (Mohammed) will never be known”.

According to the details of the settlement, the majority of the funding given to Haya will go to safety. This was to protect the children from being kidnapped by their own father, including cash for an armored car fleet that was to be replaced every few years.

Moor said Haya and her children needed the extensive precautionary measures to protect them from the sheikh, as well as because of their royal status.

“Absolutely unique is the main threat they face, from (the Sheikh) themselves and not from outside sources,” said Moor.

“For (Haya) it will remain a clear and ubiquitous risk for the rest of their lives, be it from (Mohammed) or just the ordinary terrorist,” he said, referring to the security threats someone in Haya’s position has faced.

There was great concern that Haya’s chief security officer – known only as “Director 1” – had to be brought into the courtroom to shield her security needs with darkened windows and from everyone except Moor and two lawyers. and give his name to the judge on a piece of paper.

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