London’s family courts frequently host the most acrimonious and costly disputes between separated couples. But none has been as revealing or costly as the one between the ruler of Dubai and his former wife, Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein.
From revelations of blackmail, intimidation and hacking to extravagant spending on sunk horses, houses and trampolines, most of the details of the case had remained private. Today, a judge’s ruling over the $ 734million financial compensation between the two and their children – the highest in UK family court history – revealed a family dispute like no other .
The case stems from the couple’s divorce abroad in 2019. The princess fled to the UK that year with their two children out of fear for the safety of her family. It was after she learned that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had orchestrated the kidnapping of her two children from another marriage.
Since then, he has been found to have ordered the hacking of phones belonging to him and his legal teams, and tried to buy a property close to his own. A judge said the sheikh had led a campaign to “intimidate and frighten” the princess before she fled and said the sheikh was “ready to use the arm of the state to achieve what he considers right” .
The case revealed that the princess paid four of her security guards $ 8.9 million after they allegedly blackmailed her during the wedding over an affair she had. Judge Philip Moor called it the “most unsatisfactory episode” in his ruling and said the princess “must have been very scared”, although he admitted that the alleged blackmailers had not testified in the case.
The sheikh said in a statement that he “has always made sure that his children are provided”. Lawyers for Princess Haya declined to comment on the ruling.
Although the Sheikh did not disclose his possessions or testify in the case, it did give some insight into the fabulous wealth of Middle Eastern royalty and the extravagances they are used to.
The Princess’s 2019 budget as the Sheikh’s wife was almost $ 96.9 million. She owned high fashion clothes that cost around $ 83.5 million and jewelry that cost $ 26.5 million, according to a court ruling released this week.
She told the court that the family’s vacation expenses at a hotel in Italy one summer were $ 813,280, with an additional $ 309,070 spent at a hotel in Greece. Flights to the two locations cost $ 517,400, due to the need to take a private plane for safety reasons. According to the decision, an additional $ 72,970 per week was needed for expenses, such as renting a private yacht.
The court judgment detailed the items attributed to the princess and her children, some of which are shown below.
Judge Moor said in his judgment that “children should be able to have a lifestyle that is not quite out of step with that they enjoy in Dubai and that enjoyed by His Highness and his family”.
Still, most of the reward will be used to ensure the future safety of the princess and her children. A security guard said in court that armored vehicles were needed because he could not rule out an armed attack on the family convoy.
London family courts are generally a friendly place for non-working spouses in a high-stakes divorce battle, with judges generally willing to order a more equal share of a couple’s assets.
“The settlement Princess Haya secured today would not have been possible in many jurisdictions,” said Harriet Errington, a lawyer at Boodle Hatfield, who was not involved in the case.
Even so, the case was unique because the Princess’s only claim for herself was for safety and some lost personal effects; the majority of the allowance relates to the safety and expenses of the children. The judge said that outside the colony “she will have very little” outside of her two real estate trusts and that she “will just have to carefully manage her own personal resources.”
As the price drops below the $ 1.9 billion she has asked for, the Sheikh may have to hand over more than $ 734 million due to the annual security fee he has to pay his children all their time. life. At the start of the case, he offered to provide a bank guarantee to HSBC Holdings, which the judge withheld him from.
The princess’ struggle to maintain the family way of life was laid bare when she told the court that she was forced to sell goods such as jewelry, horses, gold and cars worth $ 21 million. Earlier this year, her lawyer said “she is fighting the fires in financial terms.”