The billionaire ruler of Dubai, who is at the centre of the UK's costliest ever divorce battle, should not be allowed custody of his children, it was claimed today.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has six wives, is worth $4.5bn and is also the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.
He and Princess Haya, 45, have two children aged seven and 11 and their divorce is likely to be one of the most expensive in UK legal history.
Today, a man claiming to be a close friend of one of the Sheikh's older daughters, Princess Latifa, said that he shouldn't be given custody of his young children.
He claimed that Princess Latifa, 33, was kidnapped and forced back to her father when she tried to flee the family home in Dubai earlier this year.
Latifa claims that she and another sister have been held prisoners in the UAE by their father since trying to escape.
She was allegedly seized on the yacht Nostromo off the coast of India while trying to flee to Sri Lanka.
Former French spy Captain Herve Jaubert, who says he masterminded Latifa's failed escape attempt, claims he has been authorised to speak on her behalf.
In statement issued through the Detained in Dubai humans rights' group, he said; 'Even if he got partial custody, I am certain that the first time the children went to the UAE they would become captives and never allowed to see Princess Haya again.
'Because Latifa Al Maktoum is tragically unable to testify before a UK court, as her official representative I have the responsibility of sharing the history that Latifa has revealed to me over our eight-year association and friendship.
'I have direct authority to speak on Latifa's behalf and am the only person to be given this duty by Sheikha Latifa herself.'
Capt Jaubert repeated claims that the Sheikh had kidnapped his daughter Shamsa from Cambridge in 2000 and held her against her will in the UAE.
He added; 'Latifa told me how her father ordered nurses and doctors to use major tranquilizers to turn Shamsa into a docile and subdued woman.'
He claimed Latifa had also claimed she had been tortured previously and had been placed in solitary confinement and drugged over three years.
Capt Jaubert claimed that Princess Latifa was being detained in the UAE and was being prevented from testifying during her father's divorce proceedings.
He added: 'The UK authorities should bear in mind that this is a man who kidnapped his own daughters because no legal process could return them to him.
'Sheikh Mohammed disregards any foreign laws when they don't fit his agenda.'
For the impending divorce hearing, the Sheikh has hired Helen Ward, who handled Guy Ritchie's split from Madonna and Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's divorce from second wife Slavica.
Princess Haya has retained the services of Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia - nicknamed the Steel Magnolia because of her charm and determination.
Her clients have included Prince Charles in his divorce from Princess Diana and Prince Andrew in his split from the Duchess of York.
Baroness Shackleton famously had a glass of water thrown over her by Heather Mills during divorce proceedings with husband Sir Paul McCartney in 2008.
The baroness, who represented the Beatle, ensured Mills received only £24million of the £125million she had wanted.
Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King of Jordan is reported to have fled the Arab kingdom with £31m to start a new life.
She has reportedly gone into hiding and moved into an £85 million house near Kensington Palace.
Media reports said the princess first travelled to Germany, along with the couple's two children and then to the London mansion she has recently purchased.
The Princess recently moved into the £85million townhouse which she bought from Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal in 2017.
The property is located on one of London's most exclusive streets and is a short distance from Kensington Palace.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.