Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been ordered to hack his estranged wife’s phone using controversial Pegasus spyware, a London court has ruled.
Princess Haya bint al-Hussein’s surveillance using NSO Group Ltd technology coincided with the “express or implied authority” of Sheikh Mohammed, Judge Andrew MacFarlane said in a ruling made public on Wednesday. The couple has been fighting for the welfare of their children since the princess moved to the UK with him in 2019.
MacFarlane wrote in his Wednesday ruling, Sheikh Mohammed “is ready to use the hand of the state to achieve what he believes is right.” “He has harassed and threatened the mother before and since moving to England,” the judge said, and is “ready to confront those who are acting illegally in the UK on her behalf”.
Sheikh Mohammed denied the allegations in a statement to Bloomberg. The matter pertained to “alleged handling of state security” and it was “not appropriate for me to provide evidence” on such sensitive matters, he said.
Sheikh said “therefore the conclusions are essentially based on an incomplete picture” and are also based on evidence “not provided to me or my thinkers”. “That’s why I stand that they were made in a way that was unfair.”
Princess Haya’s lawyers declined to comment.
The decision by one of Britain’s most senior judges has caused embarrassment for the Dubai royal family. MacFarlane ruled early last year that Sheikh Mohammed had launched a campaign aimed at “intimidating and intimidating” his estranged wife.
NSO’s software has been found on the phones of journalists and activists, with human rights groups accusing the Israeli firm of using the technology to track conversations and messages. The firm says its products are sold only to law enforcement and intelligence agencies of the governments it investigates.
An NSO document previously published by security researchers describes Pegasus as a device that can “remotely and covertly extract valuable intelligence from any mobile device.”
According to the document, by tricking a targeted person into clicking a link, or forcing a phone to download a spy tool without any user’s contact, it is usually installed on the phone by exploiting security vulnerabilities on the device. can be done.
According to MacFarlane, Sheikh Mohammed said it was difficult to see how the hacking allegations made a “substantial difference” to the issue of his contact with his children.
The judge said in Wednesday’s ruling that he considers the matter “extremely serious”, adding that the sheikh could have a profound effect on his ability to rely on anything but contact with his children. The most minimal and safest system”.
In a separate ruling, the judge also said that agents working for the sheikh had tried to buy a 30 million pounds ($40.7 million) estate next to the princess’s own estate in the west of London. The judge said the princess rightly feared that the sheikh might use the property in an attempt to kidnap children by offering a transport hub for a helicopter.
Copies of the court orders restraining the kidnapping have been given to the police, he said.