Dubai Ruler Denies Hacking Ex-Wife's Phone Using Pegasus Spyware
15:07 GMT 06.10.2021 (Updated: 15:24 GMT 28.05.2023)
A legal battle over the welfare of their two children saw Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum hack his ex-wife Princess Haya and five of her associates.
Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has rejected the findings by a British court judge that he had hacked the phones of his ex-wife Princess Haya using NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus spyware.
"I have always denied the allegations made against me and I continue to do so. These matters concern supposed operations of State security. 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. 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," he said in a statement.
A senior high court judge has found that the ruler of Dubai
hacked the phone of his ex-wife Princess Haya
and her lawyers using Pegasus spyware in an unlawful abuse of power and trust.
Among those hacked were two of Haya’s lawyers, one of whom was Lady Shackleton, who sits in the House of Lords.
Shackleton represented Prince Charles in his divorce from his late first wife Princess Diana. Shackleton was warned about the hacking by Cherie Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who works with the Israeli NSO Group.
The NSO group is the developer of the sophisticated "Pegasus" software, created for states to counter national security risks, and used by Dubai's ruler against his ex-wife.
England's High Court ruled that the hacking was ordered as part of a "sustained campaign of intimidation and threat" during the custody battle.
The court also heard that people working for Sheikh Mohammed tried to buy a mansion next door to Haya's estate near London, in an intimidatory action - as ruled by the court - that made Haya feel unsafe.
"The findings represent a total abuse of trust, and indeed an abuse of power to a significant extent," Judge Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division in England and Wales, said in his ruling.
The allegations by the court were denied by the sheikh, whose lawyers that he hadn’t “authorised it or instructed, encouraged or in any way suggested any other person should use NSO or any software in this way."