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Dubai ruler ordered to pay €645 million to his ex-wife and their children

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By Euronews  with AFP, AP
Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 10, 2019.
Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 10, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Dubai's ruler Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum was ordered on Tuesday to pay more than €640 million to his ex-wife and their children, in what is believed to be the largest divorce settlement awarded by a British court.

The 72-year-old head of the UAE government will have to pay £251.5 million (about €300 million) to his sixth wife, Princess Haya Brint al-Hussein of Jordan, 47, in a lump sum to be paid within three months, according to a ruling published on Tuesday.

He will also have to pay a total of £290 million (more than €340 million) to cover maintenance and security costs for the former couple's two children, Al Jalila, 14, and Zayed, nine. This amounts to £5.6 million per annum per child and is to last "until they shall respectively cease full-time tertiary education or four years after they have commenced their first degree, whichever is later."

Finally, he has to pay arrears of £9.6 million to the children within one month.

Princess Haya, a graduate of Oxford University, a two-term president of the International Equestrian Federation and a member of the International Olympic Committee, fled the UAE with the couple's two children in April 2019 saying she had become terrified of her husband's threats and intimidation.

Sheikh Mohammed launched legal action to have the children returned to Dubai the following month, while Princess Haya asked for them to be made wards of the British court and stay in the UK.

He later drop his bid to have the children return to Dubai and fought unsuccessfully to prevent the court from issuing a fact-finding judgment on his wife's allegations.

The High Court in London ruled in March 2020 that he had orchestrated a campaign of fear and intimidation against his estranged wife and ordered the abduction of two of his adult daughters, Sheikha Shamsa and Sheikha Latifa.

Britain's High Cout also found in July of this year he had ordered the hacking of the phones of Princess Haya and her attorneys using the Pegasus software.