Stark light shone on Latifa’s father, a big player in Irish horse racing

Kim Bielenberg, Irish Independent
April 3, 2021

The woman who helped Princess Latifa in her attempt to escape from Dubai has called on Irish horseracing authorities to ban Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum from the sport.

Princess Latifa’s friend Tiina Jauhiainen said it is time for Irish racing to take a stand on the ruler of the gulf state over his treatment of his daughter and other women in his family.

Ms Jauhiainen and Latifa mounted a daring escape bid from Dubai in February 2018, but were intercepted on a yacht as they crossed the Indian Ocean. The last time Ms Jauhiainen saw the princess, she was being dragged away kicking and screaming by armed commandos before being returned to Dubai.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Latifa’s friend called for Sheikh Mohammed to be banned from Irish racing after a damning judgment against him in the High Court in London. A British judge found Sheikh Mohammed to have been responsible for the abduction of two of his adult daughters, Latifa (35) and her sister Shamsa (39).

Sheikh Mohammed is an honorary member of the Irish Turf Club. He is a powerful figure in horseracing as an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, and is one of the country’s biggest landowners.

Ms Jauhiainen, a Finnish martial arts instructor, has been in contact with former President Mary Robinson in relation to calling for action from Irish racing authorities.

Mrs Robinson, who is a friend of Sheikh Mohammed’s former wife Princess Haya, became embroiled in the Latifa case when she met her in Dubai in December 2018. Horse Racing Ireland, the authority that regulates the ownership of horses, declined to comment.