Dubai sheikh ordered to fund ex-wife's $700M protection from himself

The ruler of Dubai has been ordered to pay almost a billion dollars in a divorce settlement with his ex-wife in order to fund her protection from himself.

A U.K. court has ordered Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the prime minister of Dubai, to pay an unprecedented $700 million divorce settlement to ex-wife Princess Haya. High Court Judge Phillip Moor in his ruling cited safety concerns for Princess Haya and the divorced royal couple’s children.

“I am entirely satisfied that this means that, although HRH (her royal highness Haya) and the children would require security provision in any event, 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,” Moor stated.

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“Most importantly in this regard, and absolutely uniquely, the main threat they face is from HH (his highness the sheikh) himself not from outside sources,” Moor continued.

Haya, 47, is the daughter of the king of Jordan and fled to the United Kingdom to escape al-Maktoum, who was seen as a danger to her and their children.

Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Princess Haya bint al-Hussein attend the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Feb. 11, 2018. (REUTERS/Christopher Pike)

Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and Princess Haya bint al-Hussein attend the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Feb. 11, 2018. (REUTERS/Christopher Pike)

“This is compounded by the full weight of the state that he has available to him as seen by his ability to make use of the Pegasus software, which is only available to governments,” the judge added.

Al-Maktoum has a documented history of harassing and intimidating members of his family who have drawn his ire. Notably, the sheikh utilized state power to twice detain his daughter Princess Latifa – an international scandal that drew worldwide attention in 2018.

Al-Maktoum is the autocratic ruler of Dubai, appointed by the president of the United Arab Emirates.

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The UAE legalized premarital sex in November 2020, a legal change that has liberated thousands of expatriate women in the country who were previously imprisoned for bearing children out of wedlock.

Although unwed mothers no longer face jail, they now face a maze of red tape. 

Obtaining birth certificates for their babies is a costly process that the country’s poorest residents – foreign workers who clean offices, serve food and care for the children of other mothers – cannot afford. 

Expats outnumber locals by nearly nine to one in the Emirates. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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