The ex-wife of Dubai’s leader has reason to doubt the tale of his prodigal daughter — she too was held captive by him, she claims.
Reclining by a window in her hilltop residence outside Beirut, Randa al-Banna took a puff of her slim cigarette and looked out over the Mediterranean. The former wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai needed all her ingenuity just to make it here.
The house, where she lives with two chihuahuas, a Yorkshire terrier and a Pomeranian, is one of the few places she feels safe, decades after her split from the billionaire prime minister of the United Arab Emirates. His sporadic financial support, coupled with what she says was a recent three-month spell kept in effective house arrest in Rome, has enmeshed Banna, 66, in her former husband’s world, but it has not silenced her, even though she still fears she could be targeted for speaking out about one of the Middle East’s most powerful men.