London court orders ruler of Dubai to pay ‘record’ divorce settlement

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London (AFP) – The ruler of Dubai was ordered on Tuesday to pay his ex-wife and children around £ 550million ($ 730million) in what is considered the highest divorce settlement set by an English court.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum was told to pay Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, half-sister of Jordanian King Abdullah II, a lump sum of £ 251.5million and provide a bank guarantee £ 290million to cover the upkeep and safety of children as adults.

The 72-year-old ruler of the emirate of Dubai has long been locked in a bitter legal battle with his 47-year-old ex-wife, who lives in London with their two children, aged 13 and nine.

The High Court ruled in October this year that the sheikh had authorized the use of spy software to hack his ex-wife’s phone, and a judge said he “harassed and intimidated her (she) both before she left for England and since “.

Judge Philip Moor, in his divorce settlement decision, said Sheikh Mohammed had “accepted that his wealth was sufficient to meet any reasonable order.”

His spokesperson later said that the sheikh “has always made sure that his children are taken care of” and “the court has now issued its decision on finances and he does not intend to comment further. “.

Previously, the biggest settlement was around £ 450million to Tatiana Akhmedova, the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire, in 2016.

The case took place behind closed doors in the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales.

Sheikh Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, failed last year in a legal attempt to block the publication of his judgments.

He had asked the High Court for the summary return of the children to Dubai.

The couple married in 2004 during Sheikh Mohammed’s second official wedding. He divorced Princess Haya under Sharia law in 2019, without her knowledge, according to the court ruling.

She and her children live in a house near Kensington Palace and on an estate in West London that she inherited from her father, the late King Hussein of Jordan.

The High Court ruled in 2020 that the Sheikh subjected Princess Haya, an Olympic equestrian, to a “campaign of fear and intimidation”, forcing her to flee to London.

A judge also ruled that the sheikh forcibly sent home two of his eldest daughters, Shamsa and Latifa, forcing them to stay in Dubai.

Latifa, who tried unsuccessfully to flee the emirate in March 2018, went on to say that she had been held “hostage” in one of her palaces and feared for her life.

In a statement after the publication of the decisions, Sheikh Mohammed strongly denied the allegations.

The Sheikh has a close relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, sharing his love of horse racing. His family operates stables in the UK and other countries.


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