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Dubai ruler, a UK ally, used Israeli spyware to hacking ex-wife phone

Saeed Pourreza
Press TV, London

A British court has ruled that Sheikh Muhammad al-Maktoum of the UAE ordered the illegal hacking of the mobile phones of those opposing him in UK courts. That includes the phones of his ex wife princess Haya of Jordan as well as her legal and security teams. The Dubai ruler, considered part of the British establishment with close ties to the royal family, has denied any involvement.

A family saga spanning some 20 years; Dubai’s autocratic ruler sheikh Muhammad Al-Maktoum and his ex-wife Jordan’s princess Haya fighting over the custody of their two daughters in UK courts.

The UK high court has ruled that during a crucial phase of the hearings, Al-Makhtoum ordered the phones of his former-wife, her personal assistant, her security and legal team and that of her barrister who is a member of the House of Lords of the British parliament to be hacked.

Princess Haya fled Dubai two years ago and learning of her husband’s abduction and mistreatment of their two daughters. In the UK, she applied for court orders to prevent her children from being returned to Dubai.

The judgment that was published here, revealed how Dubai’s 70-year-old ruler, a close ally of the UK abused his power and breached UK criminal law in order to influence the course of the court proceedings.

The intrusive spyware used: Pegasus- developed by the Israeli regime’s NSO group, touted as one for fighting terrorism.

It was the same spyware that the Sheikh’s henchmen used to track down one of his daughters, Sheikha Latifa in 2018 when she tried to flee Dubai on a boat. In her smuggled video, she explained what had happened to her.

The UAE is home to more than 500 British businesses and more than 120,000 Britons. It is a UK-made weapons client. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Makhtoum is a billionaire racehorse owner with strong ties with the British establishment. He also owns a property empire in the UK. He has been photographed with the queen and received a trophy from her for a horse-race victory. And above all has sovereign immunity from any future possible prosecutions.

But UK law has been broken here, and this case poses extremely awkward questions about one of Britain’s closest friends in the Middle East. Yet campaigners say, where money is involved, the British establishment is prepared to look the other way.

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