“Hacked ex-wife Haya’s cell phone.” Embarrassment of the queen, her friend – Corriere.it

The Emir, a friend of Elizabeth, had her cell phone hacked during the divorce process. To give the alarm Cherie Blair, wife of the former premier and consultant of the company who created the spy program

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
LONDON – a scandal that shakes the foundations of the British establishment. A London High Court judge established that it Sheikh of Dubai, close friend of Queen Elizabeth, he had illegally intercepted the phone of his ex-wife and especially that of her lawyer, Baroness Shackleton, who sits in the House of Lords and was in the past the lawyer of Prince Charles in the divorce from Diana.

Two years ago Princess Haya, 47, fled Dubai to England
after her marriage to the sheikh fell apart Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
, 72, who also vice-president and prime minister of the UAE. The princess, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and the sixth wife of the sheikh, has brought with her two young children: and since then embroiled in a legal battle with her husband for their custody and related financial support.

why the sheikh had Haya’s and Baroness Shackleton’s phone checked: its agents used the infamous Pegasus software, developed by the Nso – an Israeli cyber intelligence agency – and which is used by authoritarian regimes around the world to spy on dissidents. Pegasus capable of sucking data from a cell phone and even activating its microphone to record surrounding conversations.

In the case of the princess, the agents of the sheikh seized the equivalent of 24 hours of conversation and 500 photos. A further implication of the story is the fact that a sounding the alarm was Cherie Blair, the wife of the former British prime minister, who a legal adviser to the Nso group: she who warned Baroness Shackleton, who thus discovered that his conversations on WhatsApp, as well as his private and parliamentary emails had been intercepted. The Sheikh of Dubai, in his persecution of his ex-wife, not limited to spying on her from a distance: he also tried to buy a 35 million mansion next to the residence where Haya lives (and which formerly belonged to Prince Andrew and his wife Sarah Ferguson) to keep the princess under close control.

But the British judiciary, to protect it, has ruled an exclusion zone around the palace and also a ban on overflight: in fact Haya fears that the sheikh could have her children kidnapped with a helicopter raid. It has a good reason, on the other hand: in 2000 Al Maktoum had one of his daughters kidnapped in the streets of Cambridge and had her taken back to Dubai, as well as more recently he tried to kidnap another daughter who also wanted to escape from the emirate.

It is a story that puts the queen in serious embarrassment: Elizabeth, longtime friend of the sheikh, with whom he shares a passion for horse racing. He frequents the royal enclosure in Ascot and the sovereign has also granted him the honor of a public ride together in a carriage. Al Maktoum donated several horses to the sovereign, who reciprocated the gesture: but above all the sheikh a generous financier of the whole English equestrian circus, who would not stand up without his money. Voices are already being raised asking Elizabeth to distance herself from Al Maktoum, also because the queen also a friend of Princess Haya, who studied at Oxford and which was previously invited to Buckingham Palace for t.

But the monarchy will probably await the moves of the government, whose embarrassment no less. Labor calls for an urgent summoning of the Emirati ambassador, but the close business and security relationship between London and Dubai is holding back the reaction in Downing Street: the Arabs are among the main customers of the British defense industry and they recently invested $ 10 billion in infrastructure projects, showing great confidence in post-Brexit Britain. Twenty years ago the Blair government had silenced the investigation into the Cambridge kidnapping of the Sheikh’s daughter: what to do now Johnson in front of an espionage that insinuates itself into the House of Lords?

October 7, 2021 (change October 7, 2021 | 12:57)

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