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British police on Tuesday promised to review any new evidence of phone hacking linked to Dubai’s billionaire ruler, after a London court said he had authorised the use of spyware against his ex-wife and her legal team.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum approved the use of Pegasus software against Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein during their bitter child custody battle in the British capital, the High Court said.
The developments are potentially damaging for the 72-year-old sheikh, who is also vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Britain’s royal family.
Dubai is a key UK ally in the Gulf while Sheikh Mohammed, owner of the Godolphin stables, shares a passion for racehorses with Queen Elizabeth II and the pair have often been photographed together at meetings.
The High Court said he gave his “express or implied authority” for the phones of 47-year-old Princess Haya and others to be hacked with the software, which is only available to governments.
Judge Andrew McFarlane said the sheikh was “prepared to use the arm of the state to achieve what he regards as right”, noting the surveillance of at least six phones was attempted.
– ‘My texts are all visible’ –
London’s Metropolitan Police said specialist detectives launched an investigation last year into “multiple allegations of crime(s)”.
They included “unauthorised access and interception of digital devices and offences contrary to the Computer Misuse Act relating to six complainants”.
Officers spent five months conducting “significant” inquiries and collaborating with law enforcement partners, but the probe was closed in February.
“All lines of inquiry were explored as far as possible,” the Met said, noting that at the time there were “no further investigative opportunities”.
“We will of course review any new information or evidence which comes to light in connection with these allegations,” it added.
Princess Haya’s lawyer Fiona Shackleton, a baroness and member of the upper chamber of parliament — the House of Lords — for the…