London, 21 December 2021 (PA Media/dpa/MIA) – The ruler of Dubai has been ordered to pay around 550 million pounds (729 million dollars) to his former wife and their two children in what is thought to be the largest award of its kind ever ordered by an English court.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, 72, will now have to pay 251.5 million pounds to his sixth wife Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, 47, as well as making ongoing payments for their children Al Jalila, 14, and Zayed, nine.
In a ruling published on Tuesday, the judge said the further payments are underpinned by a bank guarantee of 290 million pounds to cover the children’s maintenance and security as adults.
However, the total amount they receive could be more or less depending on several factors, including how long they live or if they reconcile with their father.
The award comes after Princess Haya, the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, fled the United Arab Emirates for England in early 2019 with her two children, claiming she was “terrified” of her husband.
The total award is believed to be the largest ever ordered by an English court following a divorce, surpassing the approximately 450 million pounds awarded to Russian native Tatiana Akhmedova in 2016.
The High Court heard Princess Haya had not asked for an award for herself except for her lifetime security and to compensate her for property lost due to the end of the marriage.
As part of the financial ruling, the judge ordered Sheikh Mohammed to pay 11 million pounds a year for Princess Haya and her two children’s security costs while they are under-age.
The children will also be entitled to a 3-million-pound education fund. Once both children have finished university, Princess Haya will then receive a security budget of 5.5 million pounds per year for the rest of her life – with both children then receiving similar sums.
The multimillion-pound security budget comes after Sir Andrew McFarlane – the most senior family judge in England and Wales – found that Sheikh Mohammed had authorized the hacking of Princess Haya’s phone during their legal battle.
In a series of judgements in October, Sir Andrew found that the ruler gave his “express or implied authority” for Princess Haya and her lawyers’ phones to be infiltrated with the Pegasus spyware.
Sheikh Mohammed denied any knowledge of the hacking.
In another judgement published last year, Sir Andrew ruled that Sheikh Mohammed had “ordered and orchestrated” the abduction and forced return to Dubai of two of his adult daughters: Sheikha Shamsa, in August 2000 and her sister Sheikha Latifa, in 2002 and again in 2018.
Ruling on Princess Haya and her two children’s security costs, the judge said: “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.”
“Most importantly in this regard, and absolutely uniquely, the main threat they face is from (Sheikh Mohammed) himself, not from outside sources.”