Dubai ruler got ex-wife’s phone hacked by Israeli malware


Sheikh Mohammed “gave his express or implied authority” to have phones of Princess Haya and five of her associates hacked using Pegasus spyware, UK High Court says.

Princess Haya bint Al Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (C), walk to parade ring on Ladies Day, third day of horse racing at Royal Ascot in England on June 17, 2010. [File]
Princess Haya bint Al Hussein and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum (C), walk to parade ring on Ladies Day, third day of horse racing at Royal Ascot in England on June 17, 2010. [File]
(Reuters)

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum ordered the phones of his ex-wife and five of her associates to be hacked using Israeli security firm NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware during a bitter custody battle, the Guardian has reported, citing a British High Court order. 

Sheikh Mohammed is also the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister. His ex-wife, Princess Haya bint Hussein, is the daughter of King Hussein of Jordan and the half-sister of Jordan’s current king, Abdullah II.

Judge Andrew McFarlane ruled that Sheikh Mohammed “gave his express or implied authority” to hack the phones during the former couple’s legal battle in London over their two children.

Princess Haya fled to London in April 2019 with their children, leading to a still-ongoing legal battle over custody, access to the children and financial support.

READ MORE: Modi accused of ‘treason’ as Pegasus spyware row rocks India

Princess Haya’s phone hacked 11 times

Of Princess Haya’s five associates who were hacked, two were her lawyers, and one of the lawyers, Fiona Shackleton, sits in the House of Lords, Britain’s upper chamber of parliament.

The Guardian reported that Shackleton was told about the hacking by Cherie Blair, who works with NSO Group.

Judge McFarlane said that unlawful surveillance had been carried out. The judgement was made on May 5 but has only now been published.

McFarlane noted in his judgement that Princess Haya’s phone was hacked 11 times last year in July and August.

The judgement said that on one of the occasions that Haya’s phone was hacked, 265 megabytes of data was uploaded. 

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