Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been ordered to pay around £550m to his former wife and their two children in what is thought to be the largest award of its kind ordered by an English court.
Judge Philip Moor said most of the money awarded to Princess Haya bint al-Hussein, who is the half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah, is to protect against the “grave risk” posed to them by the sheikh himself.
Princess Haya, 47, originally fled the UAE for England in April 2019 with her two children, claiming she was “terrified” of her husband.
Later that year, the London court ruled Mohammed had carried out a campaign of threats and intimidation that made her feel unsafe, and that he had also previously abducted and mistreated two of his daughters from another marriage.
Judge Moor concluded this week: “She is not asking for an award for herself other than for security.”
He also asked Mohammed, who is also vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, to compensate her for the possessions she lost as a result of the marital breakdown.
He will make a one-off payment of £251.5m within three months to Haya for the upkeep of her mansions in the UK, which will cover the money she said she was owed for jewellery and racehorses, as well her future security costs.
The sheikh was also told to provide £3m towards the education of their children, Jalila, 14, and Zayed, 9, as well as £9.6m in arrears.
The settlement will also mean he will pay £11.2m a year for the children’s maintenance and for their security when they become adults.
These payments will be guaranteed through a £290m security held by HSBC bank.
The final sum is still less than half of the £1.4b that Haya had originally wanted, despite being described by some London lawyers to be the largest public award ever ordered by an English family court.
However, Moor said he would not give “carte blanche” to Haya’s financial claims, but would instead consider her demands “with a very clear eye to the exceptional circumstances of this case, such as the truly opulent and unprecedented standard of living enjoyed by these parties in Dubai”.
He added: “I remind myself that money was no object during the marriage.”
During almost seven hours of testimony, Haya said a large one-off payment would help remove the sheikh’s hold over her and their children.
She told the court: “I really want to be free and I want them to be free.”
Earlier this year, the President of the Family Division in England and Wales, a senior judge, also determined that Mohammed had ordered the phones of Haya and her lawyers to be hacked using the “Pegasus” state security software.
However, the sheikh’s lawyer, Nigel Dyer, told the court during hearings that “the mother’s financial claims, and the size of the relief that’s being sought, are quite unprecedented”.