A member of the Bahraini royal family is being sued in London's High Court over allegations he reneged on a deal to pay out around $33.5m (£25m) to meet a number of his favourite Bollywood stars.
Egyptian businessman Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed claims sheikh Hamad Isa Ali al-Khalifa owes him the multi-million pay package after entering into an alleged agreement to pay $1.5m for every meeting with 26 of his chosen Bollywood stars, with a $500,000 bonus for every third meeting.
The sheikh has been accused of paying only $3.4m after five meetings with four Bollywood stars in 2016, after which it is alleged he abandoned the deal.
The sheikh, who is the cousin of the King of Bahrain and nephew to the deputy prime minister, denies that he offered to pay $1.5m plus the $500,000 bonus payment. He paid $3.4m for the five meetings but said he did not wish to arrange any further meetings, claiming that Ahmed was seeking to take “unfair advantage of him”.
In defence documents, the sheikh said he was so "enthusiastic" at the prospect of meeting Bollywood stars that he handed over $80,000 to secure a meeting, when he was told the stars charged up to $50,000 for a meeting. After handing over the cash the sheikh argued that Ahmed then claimed that meetings cost $500,000 each.
The defence documents said the sheikh terminated contact with Ahmed around 24 April 2016. "This was because the first claimant started to put unfair pressure on the defendant, making unwarranted demands for very large sums of money and seeking to arrange meetings which were not convenient for the defendant."
Representing the claimants, Sarosh Zaiwalla, senior partner at law firm Zaiwalla & Co, said: “This extraordinary case is due to come to trial next week, when we look forward to the cross-examination of the Sheikh over his contradictory evidence."
The case will be heard on Monday.