Dubai’s Ruler and Pegasus Phone Hacking Exposed in a UK Court

A high court judge has ruled that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum hacked the phone of his ex-wife Princess Haya using Pegasus spyware. In this episode we look at the implications of the affair.

Earlier this year we brought you an investigation into the use of controversial spyware called Pegasus. As part of that series we revealed that the phone number of Princess Haya, the ex-wife of the ruler of Dubai, had appeared in a data leak of numbers selected as possible targets for surveillance by governments with access to Pegasus. This software gives the user the ability to access photos, videos, phone calls – everything on the target’s mobile phone.

Last week that story took a dramatic twist. The Guardian’s defence and security editor Dan Sabbagh tells Rachel Humphreys that new documents released in a UK court reveal rulings by a senior judge that confirmed that Haya was successfully hacked along with members of her legal and security teams. The judge also ruled that on the balance of probabilities, the hack was ordered by Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

It’s an act that has implications not just for Haya and her legal team, but for everyone in the UK. And the affair has posed questions too for the British government over its relationship with its close ally the United Arab Emirates.