- EXCLUSIVE: Mark Bromilow, 41, served in the Royal Marines and is a former world powerlifting champion
- Has alleged that favouritism was shown to other guards who kept jobs even though they had less experience
- Case was aired at an employment tribunal on Thursday in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s former security manager who was in charge after the sheikh’s wife had a two-year affair with another bodyguard is fighting an unfair dismissal battle.
Mark Bromilow, 41, who served in the Royal Marines and is a former world powerlifting champion is claiming that he was wrongly picked for redundancy due to a flawed process.
He has alleged that favouritism was shown to other guards who kept their jobs even though they had less experience than him.
Mr Bromilow became a team leader in 2016 and was later promoted to lead a dozen close protection officers guarding Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum and his family at his UK base in Newmarket, Suffolk.
He stepped into the role in March 2019 to replace Russell Flowers who quit after a two-year affair with Sheikh Mohammed’s sixth and youngest wife Princess Haya.
Reference to the ‘scandal’ surrounding Princess Haya, 47, was made when Mr Bromilow’s case was aired at an employment tribunal on Thursday in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
The one-day hearing heard how Mr Bromilow was among eight guards in Newmarket who were made redundant in September 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which meant that members of Dubai’s ruling family were largely staying away from the UK.
Princess Haya fled her home in Dubai with her two children in fear of her life after being confronted by her husband about her affair with married Mr Flowers.
She was represented by high profile lawyer Fiona Shackleton (right) in a bitter High Court battle against the sheikh who was seeking the return of their children to Dubai
During the hearings, which the sheikh tried to keep private, the judge ruled Princess Haya had suffered a ‘campaign of intimidation’.
Family court judge Sir Andrew McFarlane heard evidence of her relationship although Mr Flowers was not named in the court judgment. He was identified at a later date.
Mr Bromilow argued at the employment tribunal on Thursday that the process for redundancy selection did not properly take into account his seven years of service of loyal service, and his wide experience in the security industry.
The hearing was told that he had worked for five years in personal protection in Baghdad and had also protected ships from Somali pirates since leaving the Royal Marines.
He said it was unfair that others with far less experience were inexplicably given higher marks in a ‘scoring’ exercise to decide which staff should lose their jobs.
Mr Bromilow of Methwold, Norfolk, and Mr Flowers were employed by UK Mission Enterprise which provides security for billionaire Sheikh Mohammed.
The Knightsbridge-based company boasts on its website that it offers ‘a 6 star quality private concierge service to exclusive VIP Clients, across the areas of property maintenance, in-house recruitment, procurement, finance, IT and human resources service’.
Mr Bromilow who now works as a fitness instructor claimed that one of the people awarding marks for different categories was best friends with a guard who ended up being removed from the redundancy process and kept his job.
But Sue Aslett, the company’s former head of human resources said the employee was kept on as he had an ‘established relationship’ with the ‘client’ who liked to see familiar faces.
Mr Bromilow who is claiming that he was unfairly dismissed by UK Mission Enterprise, said that he was told that he would be ‘invited to come back’ if more guards were needed, but he was not approached when the company advertised for four new close security operatives in April this year.
His barrister Mike Magee said the company which had made a total of 63 redundancies in 2020 was effectively owned and managed by the Dubai Royal family.
He said: ‘The company itself provides a range of services to support the extended Dubai Royal family in the UK including security services, housekeeping and a whole series of ancillary support functions.
‘The company was set up at the behest of the Dubai Royal family and Sheikh Mohammed.
‘It’s quite clear that Dubai pulls the strings in terms of the respondent organisation… I’m going to suggest it is owned by the Dubai Royal family.’
Sue Aslett, the company’s former head of human resources, responded that she only answered to the firm’s managing director, and was unable to give any information about the ownership of the company.
She said that redundancies were necessary due to ‘a requirement to reduce the head count because our clients were not coming to the UK’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Aslett added: ‘By default our workforce could not be maintained because we didn’t have the work for them. We were in a pandemic and had sufficient reductions in workload to the point where people had nothing to do.’
When asked by Judge Richard Conley if the Dubai Royal family had insisted on job cuts as owners of the company or ‘influential clients’, she replied: ‘No one wanted a redundancy situation.’
Mr Magee asked her: ‘Obviously you were aware of the situation regarding Princess Haya?’
She replied: ‘I was aware in terms of rumours. I was not in a client facing role.’
Mr Magee went on: ‘You would be aware there was a scandal around that and as a result of that, Mr Flowers was dismissed from the company.’
Ms Aslett responded that Mr Flowers had resigned and had not been dismissed.
Mr Magee continued: ‘Were you aware that following on from that, Mr Bromilow was required to go and give detailed information to investigators for the Dubai Royal family?
‘And he gave a full account of what he knew about this situation. He gave it to investigators. It was in fact representatives of Sheikh Mohammed.’
Ms Aslett replied: ‘I am not aware of that.’
Mr Bromilow said he was unhappy that the different categories which staff were being marked on when being assessed for redundancy did not include fitness which he described as ‘a vital role’.
The hearing heard that the guard who was later excused from the redundancy process had helped draw up the categories in his role as an employee representative, and had excluded fitness.
Mr Bromilow described it as a ‘conflict of interest’ because the guard had performed poorly in a fitness test and would have feared that including it would count against him.
He said he raised concerns about the fairness of the scoring system, but was ignored.
He added: ‘In my opinion, I had no flaws or misdemeanours against me, and I should have scored maximum points.
‘It was not conducted correctly. I was not given a fair crack of the whip when I had been there seven years and been an honest team leader and manager.
‘I would like to think they were happy with the service I provided. I got promoted through the ranks.’
Under cross examination by UK Mission Enterprise’s barrister Daniel Barnett, he said he agreed that the role of close protection operative ‘requires upmost discretion’.
Mr Barnett pointed out that Mr Bromilow’s solicitors had sent a letter in November 2020 which ‘hints at security breaches involving one of the subjects’.
The letter also alleged that Mr Bromilow had been targeted in ‘bad faith’ over information he had about one of the subjects he was guarding.
Mr Barnett suggested: ‘The reason why these things were put in that letter was because you thought if you threatened to make certain things public, then you thought UK Mission Enterprise would be willing to settle their claim.’ Mr Bromilow replied: ‘No, sir’.
Mr Bromilow also questioned why only security teams in Newmarket had been targeted for redundancy while all guards based in London were allowed to keep their jobs.
But Richard Hardaker, the company’s head of close protection, said the London security staff were ‘a specialist group of individuals’ involved in different work as a result of an incident many years ago which had ‘put somebody’s life at risk’.
He said that they gave support to help protect members of the Dubai Royal family when needed, but it was not their primary role.
Mr Magee described the redundancy process as a ‘capricious lottery’ and ‘fundamentally flawed’ with the two people awarding scores to each guard having little knowledge of their skills.
He added: ‘The obligation was on the respondents to deliver a system with a fair assessment and outcome.’
But Mr Barnett said there was no suggestion that the two scorers had been ‘put under any pressure’ to come up with their marks and it had not been suggested should have done the job.
He went on: ‘It is said that the criteria was subjective, not objective. But the question is whether they are capable for fair assessment.’
Mr Barnett said it was ‘reasonable’ that the other guard was excused from the redundancy process as he a ‘very long relationship going back years in double figures with the main principal’.
He added: ‘He was just someone who was too important to let go.’
Judge Richard Conley said he would deliver his judgement on the case in the New Year.
Family court judge Sir Andrew McFarlane stated in his fact-finding ruling in favour of Princess Haya, that she had ’embarked upon an adulterous relationship with one of her male bodyguards’.
He also found the sheikh had carried out a campaign of fear and intimidation which included divorcing her without telling her, arranging for guns to be left in her bedroom and attempting to have her abducted by helicopter.
The princess now lives at a £85m home in Kensington, London, with her two children.
Mr Bromilow, who runs a personal training business called Commando Strength states on his website that he was crowned London’s strongest man, represented England in world powerlifting events and was a World Champion in Deadlift Powerlifting in 2019.
UK Mission Enterprise denies the claim and the hearing continues.