India helped ‘seize fleeing Dubai princess’

Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
April 2, 2018, The Times

A woman claiming to be Sheikha Latifa said she was being held against her will by her father in a video released last month

A French former spy who was helping a Dubai princess to escape from her father has described how the yacht they were on was stormed by the Indian coastguard, acting for the Emirati authorities.

Hervé Jaubert was taking a woman identified as Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum to India in an attempt to win her asylum in America. She said that she had been held a virtual prisoner for years by her father, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai.

Mr Jaubert, 62, is a former secret service agent turned businessman who himself escaped from Dubai ten years ago while awaiting trial on fraud charges. He said that he had responded to a request for help but subsequently went missing at sea along with Sheikha Latifa, 32, and her best friend, Tiina Johanna Jauhiainen, 41, who is from Finland.

The three were taken to the United Arab Emirates after the yacht, the US-registered Nostromo, was stormed off the Indian coast by a small armada of military vessels, Mr Jaubert said in his first account of the escape.

The “mystery of the missing sheikha” was first revealed by the group Detained in Dubai, which campaigns on behalf of people who have fallen foul of the legal system in the UAE.