High Court: Dubai ruler ordered to pay record £554m in UK custody case
Dubai’s billionaire ruler Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has been ordered to pay £554m to estranged wife Princess Haya and their two children.
Judge Philip Moor today told the Dubai ruler to pay a lump sum of £251.5m within three months to cover the cost of the princess’s security for her lifetime, which the court said will also address the “grave risk” the Sheikh poses to his family. He must also provide a £290m for a maintenance payment of £11m per year, as well as long term security costs for the two children as adults, £3m to cover their education and £9.6m in maintenance arrears.
The judge said: “She is not asking for an award for herself other than for security” and to compensate her for the possessions she lost as a result of the marital breakdown.
The decision is believed to be the largest post divorce settlement in English courts, giving an insight into the couple’s ultra opulent lifestyle. The ruling revealed that the princess’s annual 2019 budget while married to Sheikh Mohammed was an eye-watering £72.9m and through trust structures she has a £95m home near Kensington Palace as well as a £4.5m Windsor mansion.
While giving testimony Haya said she hoped the settlement would allow a clean break from her former marriage. “I really want to be free and I want them to be free,” she told the court, referring to the couple’s children.
A spokesperson for the sheikh said he “has always ensured that his children are provided for” in comments reported in Reuters.
Princess Haya bint Hussein is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan, she married Sheikh Mohammed in 2004 becoming his sixth wife.
She fled from Dubai to Britain in April 2019 and filed for divorce amid fears for her safety after she began an affair with a body guard. Later that year a London court found that Mohammed had carried out a campaign of threats and intimidation against his wife and that he had previously abducted and mistreated two of his daughters by another marriage.
Commenting on whether Dubai’s ruler is is likely to bow to a ruling by a UK court Harriet Errington, a partner at leading law firm Boodle Hatfield, explained courts can “effectively force the sale of the Sheikh’s UK assets in order to enforce such a judgment.”
“Given the Sheikh has considerable assets in the UK including racehorses and properties here, it will be very difficult for the Sheikh to avoid paying a large part of the settlement to his ex-wife. The court clearly took this into consideration in putting in place a bank guarantee of £290m for annual payments, so as to avoid any risk of non-payment,” she added.
The previous record divorce settlement in the English courts was the £453m awarded to the ex-wife of Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov in 2017. He finally paid the settlement in July 2021 after almost four years of further disputes.
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