After losing millions in fake gold, Dubai ruler loses wife

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His second wife has fled Dubai, taking the couple’s two children and some £31 million. [Joshua Agwanda, Standard]

A United Arab Emirates royalty said to have been targeted by Kenyan gold scammers is caught up in a new storm: his wife has fled Dubai.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler is reported by several foreign media outlets as being inconsolable after his second wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein fled, taking with her the couple’s two children, aged seven and 11.

According to a UK tabloid, The Sun, the Sheikh expressed his distress in a series of poems published on his poetry website, including one titled ‘Affection in Your Eyes'.

“He writes about noticing "reproach" in the other person's eyes in his poem, assumed to be addressed to his wife. A "fatal arrow" has "pierced my soul and left me insane,” The Sun writes, adding, “But," he pleads, "Let the past be; soften your heart, Forgive my mistakes, and reward my good deeds".”

In another poem posted on Instagram, an American website, The Daily Beast quotes the Sheikh referring to Princess Haya as a traitor, quoting lines from the poem, including one that goes, “You no longer have any place with me/ Go to who you have been busy with!/ And let this be good for you; I don’t care if you live or you die.”

Over the weekend, it was reported that the 45-year-old princess, who is Sheikh Maktoum’s second wife, fled Dubai. Aside from taking with her the couple’s two children, The Sun reports that she carried Sh4 billion (£31 million) to enable her "start a new life." According to The Sun, the princess requested for asylum in Germany and filed for divorce immediately after fleeing to Europe.

Australian website, reports that Princess Haya preferred Germany to the UK as she feared UK authorities would hand her back to Sheikh al Maktoum. However, while The Sun notes that Princess Haya's exact whereabouts are a mystery, The Daily Beast reveals that the princess is currently at a secret location in UK, also adding that she prefers to live in London.

Diplomatic crisis

According to The Sun, the event presents a diplomatic crisis between Germany and the United Arab Emirates, after German authorities declined the Sheikh’s request to return his wife.

Several foreign media outlets report that Princess Haya and the couple’s two children, 11-year-old daughter Al Jalila and seven-year-old son, Zayed, have been granted asylum in Germany, after a successful escape that was reportedly aided by a German diplomat.

According to The Sun, there were signs that all was not well as the princess has not been seen publicly since February.     

The escape presents a new complication for Sheikh Al Maktoum. In March last year, 33-year-old Princess Latifa disappeared after a foiled escape attempt. In a video, Princess Latifa alleged that her family had imprisoned her. However, the Dubai royal family has since assured that Princess Latifa is safe.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, investigations into the alleged conning of the Sheikh out of Sh400 million in a gold scam are still underway. The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti said a team of detectives is set to leave for Dubai as part of an ongoing probe to talk to various concerned parties.

“Let no one lie to you that the probe has stalled because we will get there soon,” said Mr Kinoti, speaking from the United States.

He said a team of detectives that has been handling the matter has covered much ground locally, and that they "just need to talk to a few people" before finalising the probe.

“We know the parties involved and it will be a matter of summoning them for statements. Let them be patient,” said Kinoti.

Sources said Michael Kuria, the lead investigator in the case, and his team have been granted visas to travel to UAE where investigations are set to continue. But the team is yet to leave for the Arab nation.

Since the incident unraveled, police have raided various properties, from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to smelting joints, offices and residential buildings, from which they have confiscated fake gold.

More than 20 suspects linked to various gold scams have also been arrested and presented in court.

Some of the dealers have since gone underground.

Previous reports had suggested the ruler of Dubai had been swindled by fake gold dealers in Kenya. But the UAE ambassador to Kenya was quoted in a local daily disowning the reports.

No gold

The dealers had allegedly posed as genuine suppliers of the mineral from DRC Congo before they were detailed to fly it to Dubai.

It has since emerged there was no gold and the dealers in fact planned to swindle the Dubai royal family.

When the news of the fake gold broke, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji told police to investigate and give him a file for action. 

“I have personally received a complaint and representation from victims of the scam claiming that the personality has been dealing with them for some time now and invoking the Presidents name in their dealings and conversations,” Mr Haji said.

He condemned the release and circulation of a recording on the deal, saying: "Such claims and their circulation through social media, specifically through leaked phone recordings in today's age of real-time, border-less publishing, are alarmist and may needlessly cause disaffection."

Haji warned that unless all facts are obtained and analysed, it was irresponsible and unlawful to publish such material.

"Having realised that they were conned on the availability of the gold, and the misleading knowledge and involvement of the President (Uhuru Kenyatta), the former Prime Minister (Raila Odinga) and Interior CS Fred Matiang’i, they resolved to (file) a report (with) Kenyan authorities and cooperate with law enforcement in unearthing the under-dealings,” he said.

The complaint and subsequent probe into the matter forced police to raise concerns over rising cases where foreigners are conned of money by Kenyans dealing in fake gold.

Kinoti urged embassies and high commissions to advise their nationals to be more vigilant. "The gold scam has now reached alarming levels as unsuspecting foreign nationals are being swindled off large amounts of money by fraudsters."

The Standard
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