Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the billionaire ruler of Dubai, orchestrated a marketing campaign “aimed toward intimidating and scary” his former spouse Princess Haya that included leaving a gun on her mattress on two events, London’s Excessive Court docket has dominated.
The courtroom, which is listening to a case in regards to the welfare of their two youngsters, accepted proof from Princess Haya that she had been left “terrified” with no possibility however to flee from Dubai with the kids final April.
The ruling additionally discovered that Sheikh Mohammed, who’s deputy president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, had beforehand “ordered and orchestrated” the kidnapping of two of his daughters from a earlier marriage: Sheikha Shamsa, who was taken from the UK in 2000 and Sheikha Latifa, who tried to flee Dubai by yacht two years in the past however was returned to the UAE after the boat was boarded by Indian commandos.
The Excessive Court docket ruling, which was printed on Thursday, is extremely embarrassing for Sheikh Mohammed, 70, who has overseen the event of Dubai into the area’s dominant commerce, finance and tourism hub. Sheikh Mohammed had beforehand misplaced a high-profile attraction to forestall the small print of the proceedings from being launched.
In a press release, Sheikh Mohammed stated the findings have been one-sided and requested for the general public to respect his youngsters’s privateness.
“As a head of presidency I used to be not in a position to take part within the courtroom’s fact-finding course of, this has resulted within the launch of a fact-finding judgment which inevitably tells just one aspect of the story,” he stated.
Princess Haya, who graduated from Oxford college and is half-sister to Jordan’s King Abdullah, was his sixth spouse. Sheikh Mohammed divorced her in February final 12 months and the 2 youngsters have been made wards of courtroom within the UK, that means a decide should approve selections concerning their care.
Andrew McFarlane, who’s president of the Excessive Court docket’s household division, stated after listening to Princess Haya’s allegations that they have been “largely proved on the stability of possibilities”.
“The daddy has due to this fact acted in a fashion from the top of 2018 which has been aimed toward intimidating and scary the mom, and that he has inspired others to take action on his behalf,” the ruling stated.
Princess Haya advised the courtroom that she skilled a “extra hostile local weather” from Sheikh Mohammed from early 2019 after she had an affair with one in every of her bodyguards. At the moment, she additionally sought to contain herself in “issues associated to” Sheikhas Shamsa and Latifa, who’ve lengthy been on the centre of allegations that they have been mistreated by their father.
Incidents of intimidation in opposition to Princess Haya included a gun being placed on her mattress on no less than two events with the protection catch off, based on the ruling. Nameless, threatening notes have been additionally left in her bed room, together with one which learn: “We’ll take your son — your daughter is ours — your life is over.”
Princess Haya additionally claimed that in March final 12 months one in every of Sheikh Mohammed’s helicopters landed outdoors her house when she was along with her two youngsters, aged seven and 12, after which the pilot advised her he had come to take one passenger to Awir, Dubai’s most important jail, the ruling stated.
“Bubba is indignant with Momma. He’s going to ship her to the jail in Awir; that’s all there’s there,” a safety guard advised one in every of her youngsters.
The princess described the incident as “one of many longest and most scary days I ever bear in mind residing”.
In accordance with the ruling, Sheikh Mohammed confirmed a helicopter landed on the property however stated it was “merely a mistake”.
The Excessive Court docket’s Sir Andrew stated he discovered “that the cumulative impact of every of those episodes was to position the mom able of nice worry main her to conclude that she had no possibility however to depart Dubai with the kids”.
Nonetheless, Sir Andrew stated he didn’t settle for an allegation made by Princess Haya that Sheikh Mohammed or his brokers had sought to rearrange for her daughter, then 11, to be married to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Princess Haya had utilized to the Excessive Court docket for a pressured marriage safety order in respect of her daughter and for a non-molestation order “for her personal safety”.
The decide stated he additionally accepted proof from Princess Haya that Sheikh Mohammed ordered the illegal abduction of Sheikha Shamsa from the UK in 2002.
Sheikh Mohammed, who didn’t attend courtroom to take part within the fact-finding listening to, stated in his witness assertion that he and Shamsa’s mom “collectively determined to organise a seek for her [in the UK]. When she was discovered, I bear in mind our feeling of overwhelming aid that she was protected”.
Relating to the return of Sheikha Latifa to Dubai in 2018 after an tried escape, Sir Andrew concluded he felt “assured” counting on what she had stated concerning the incident in a video launched on YouTube on the time.
Mates of Sheikha Lafita have stated she was seized off the coast of Goa by Indian and Emirati forces whereas making an attempt to flee in March 2018 and forcibly returned to Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed didn’t contest the small print in his witness assertion, however stated: “We feared that our daughter was within the fingers of a prison who may maintain her to ransom and hurt her. To at the present time I think about that Latifa’s return to Dubai was a rescue mission.”
Neither Sheikha Shamsa or Sheikha Latifa have been concerned within the trial. Sir Andrew stated he didn’t settle for that the sisters, who reside in household lodging in Dubai, got a “free selection about partaking within the courtroom course of”.
“I’ve discovered that the daddy acted as he did with respect to Shamsa and Latifa and I’ve discovered that he continues to take care of a regime whereby each of those two younger ladies are disadvantaged of their liberty, albeit inside household lodging in Dubai,” Sir Andrew stated.