London – The ruler of Dubai was ordered by a British court Tuesday to pay $730 million dollars to his ex-wife and their children in one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, 47, fled to the U.K. in 2019 saying she was “terrified” of her husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who is the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates. He is alleged to have ordered the forced return of the couple’s two daughters to the UAE, the Associated Press reported.
In October, a U.K. family court judge ruled that the UAE ruler had conducted a fear campaign against Haya, authorizing the hacking of her phone. The family court judge also said al-Maktoum had “ordered and orchestrated” the abduction and forced return to Dubai of two other of his adult daughters — Sheikha Latifa in 2002 and 2018 and her sister Sheikha Shamsa in 2000, the AP said.
Tuesday’s settlement included over $14 million a year for security for Haya and the children. The presiding judge said that the main threats against the family “absolutely uniquely” come from al-Maktoum, according to Reuters.
The settlement also includes compensation for Haya’s lost jewelry and racehorses, as well as payment for the upkeep of her British mansions. The judge ordered al-Maktoum to pay Haya a lump sum of $333 million within three months. Further payments will be guaranteed by a multi-million dollar security held by a bank, Reuters said.
The judge said that he was making his ruling on the divorce settlement “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,” according to Reuters.
One summer, for example, al-Maktoum reportedly spent $2.6 million on strawberries for his country house outside of London. The judge ordered that he pay Haya 1.3 million pounds for couture clothing that had gone missing, and $6.6 million for nine weeks of vacation with her family every year, Reuters said.
In court, Haya said the large, one-off payment would free her of al-Maktoum’s hold over her, Reuters reported.
“I really want to be free and I want them to be free,” she said of her and her children.
Haley Ott is a digital reporter/producer for CBS News based in London.