Sheikh Mohammed Agrees to $700M Settlement, Including $6.7M Holiday Budget, with Sixth Wife

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum must pay almost 550 million pounds, or $730 million, in a divorce settlement with his sixth wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, the British High Court ruled Tuesday.

This also includes another 5.1 million pounds, or $6.7 million, for the family's holiday budget.

Princess Haya, the 47-year-old daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, ran to the U.K. in 2019, saying she was "terrified" of her husband. Upon arrival, she went to the British courts to get custody of their two children, 14-year-old Al Jalila and 9-year-old Zayed.

Judge Philip Moor said "absolutely uniquely" the primary threat to Haya and her children is Sheikh Mohammed himself, adding that they need "water-tight security."

Sheikh Mohammed, the 72-year-old vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, has a history of forcing his children to return to the UAE. According to Judge Andrew McFarlane, Sheikh Mohammed had "ordered and orchestrated" two abductions and forced returns to Dubai—the first for his daughter Sheikha Shamsa in 2000, and the second for her sister Sheikha Latifa in 2002 and in 2018.

Of the nearly 550 million pounds, 251.5 million will go to Princess Haya, while the other 290 million will be distributed in continuous payments to the two children throughout their lives.

The holiday budget will provide 450,000 pounds for the children's staff and another 275,000 for their animals every year.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
A British court on Tuesday ordered the ruler of Dubai to pay his ex-wife and their children about 550 million pounds ($730 million), in one of the most expensive divorce settlements in British history. Above, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is shown on June 22, 2019. Mike Egerton/PA via AP

The total amount of money the children receive could be more or less than 290 million pounds, depending on factors including how long they live and whether they reconcile with their father. The settlement includes 11 million pounds a year to cover security costs for Princess Haya and the children while they are minors.

Sheikh Mohammed is also a major horse breeder. The founder of the successful Godolphin horse-racing stable, he is on friendly terms with Queen Elizabeth II.

Haya, a graduate of Oxford University, is also a keen equestrian and competed in show jumping for Jordan at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

A separate British family court judge ruled in October that Sheikh Mohammed had authorized the hacking of Princess Haya's phone during their legal battle.

Judge McFarlane said the sheikh gave his "express or implied authority" to hack the phones of the princess and her attorneys using Pegasus spyware produced by NSO Group of Israel, the court said. The software is licensed exclusively to nation states for use by their security services.

Sheikh Mohammed denied knowledge of the hacking.

The divorce bill eclipses the 450 million pound settlement awarded Tatiana Akhmedova in her 2016 split from Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, at the time cited as Britain's most expensive divorce.

It is possible, but rare, for financial divorce settlements to be appealed in England.

A spokesman for Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement that the ruler "has always ensured that his children are provided for. The court has now made its ruling on finances and he does not intend to comment further."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein
Princess Haya Bint al-Hussein and her children will receive $730 million, plus a $6.7 million holiday budget in her divorce settlement with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Above, Princess Haya, left, arrives with her lawyer Baroness Fiona Shackleton at the High Court on February 28, 2020, in London, England. Photo by Pete Summers/Getty Images