UK high court finds Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed hacked ex-wife's phone using spyware

Andrew McFarlane, the UK’s most senior household courtroom decide, mentioned in his ruling on Wednesday that he discovered that via a community of servants and brokers, Sheikh Mohammed had hacked the cellphones of Princess Haya, her private assistant, her solicitors Baroness Shackleton and Nicholas Manners, and two members of her private safety employees utilizing “Pegasus” software licensed to Dubai and the UAE by an Israeli firm.

The software program used included the capability to trace the goal’s places, take heed to their phone calls, entry their contacts lists, passwords, calendars, and pictures, and browse messages obtained via apps, emails, and SMS.

McFarlane mentioned in his ruling the “the findings represent a total abuse of trust, and indeed an abuse of power.”

“It is an abuse which has been compounded by the manner in which the father has contested these allegations and instructed his lawyers. Despite the weight of evidence, the fact of hacking was never conceded, nor was the fact that such hacking had been by Pegasus,” McFarlane mentioned.

Princess Haya, Dubai ruler's wife, seeks court order to prevent child's forced marriage

“At no stage has the father offered any sign of concern for the mother, who is caring for their children, on the basis that her phones have been hacked and her security infiltrated. Instead, he has marshalled a formidable forensic team to challenge the findings sought by the mother and to fight the case against her on every point,” he added.

The judgment was launched Wednesday, following a year-long reporting restriction that was lifted by the Family Division of the UK High Court.

In a press release Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammed contested the judgment, saying it was primarily based on “an incomplete picture.”

“I have always denied the allegations made against me and I continue to do so. These matters concern supposed operations of State security. As a Head of Government involved in private family proceedings, it was not appropriate for me to provide evidence on such sensitive matters either personally or via my advisers in a foreign court. Neither the Emirate of Dubai nor the UAE are party to these proceedings, and they did not participate in the hearing. The findings are therefore inevitably based on an incomplete picture,” his assertion mentioned.

“In addition, the findings were based on evidence that was not disclosed to me or my advisers. I therefore maintain that they were made in a manner which was unfair,” it continued.

Dubai is certainly one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.

Because Sheikh Mohammed is the ruler of Dubai and the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, his attorneys argued that the Foreign Act of State (FAS) Doctrine — which prohibits a courtroom from inquiring into the legality of acts made by a overseas state — undermined the UK High courtroom’s jurisdiction on this case.

In January, McFarlane and Justice Martin Chamberlain dominated that the FAS doctrine didn’t stop the courtroom from adjudicating Princess Haya’s claims.

The findings are a part of a series of ongoing hearings in London involving Princess Haya, and comply with a ruling delivered in March 2020, which concluded Sheikh Mohammed had beforehand organized the kidnapping of two of his daughters and forcibly returned them to Dubai, the place he held them in opposition to their will.

The Sheikh has repeatedly denied all claims raised within the ongoing case.

Correction: An earlier model of this story misidentified the capital of the UAE. It is Abu Dhabi.

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