The ruler of Dubai was on Tuesday ordered to pay his former wife and children around £550 million ($730 million) in what is thought to be the highest divorce settlement set by an English court.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum was told he must pay Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, a half-sister of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, a lump sum of £251.5 million and provide a bank guarantee of £290 million to cover the children’s maintenance and security as adults.
The 72-year-old ruler of the emirate of Dubai has been locked in a lengthy and bitter legal battle with his 47-year-old former wife, who lives in London with their two children, aged 13 and nine.
Judge Philip Moor said the massive settlement was partly to ensure security, due to the risk of the children’s abduction by their father, who is also vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
The family “need water-tight security”, the judge said, adding: “The main threat they face is from (Sheikh Mohammed) himself”.
The High Court case has previously ruled that the sheikh authorised the use of spying software to hack his ex-wife’s phones and that he had forcibly returned two of his elder daughters to Dubai.
Judge Moor said Tuesday’s vast settlement was justified by the “exceptional wealth and remarkable standard of living enjoyed by these children during the marriage”.
The Sheikh’s spokesperson said afterwards that the Dubai ruler “has always ensured that his children are provided for” and “the court has now made its ruling on finances and he does not intend to comment further”.
Previously the largest such settlement was approximately £450 million to Tatiana Akhmedova, the ex-wife of a Russian billionaire, in 2016.