A British private eye hired by Dubai’s ruler to threaten his runaway wife’s security chief can today be unmasked as a former Scotland Yard anti-terror officer.
Stuart Page, whose identity was previously a secret, helped wage a campaign of intimidation on behalf of billionaire Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a friend of the Queen, the High Court found.
He threatened to damage the reputation of a senior bodyguard hired by the sheikh’s youngest wife Princess Haya after she fled to London in fear of her life with their children in 2019 unless he stopped working for her, a judge ruled.
The princess and her autocratic ex-husband have been locked in the costliest child custody battle in UK legal history at the High Court.
It has been raging for more than two years and the High Court has made damning findings including that the sheikh previously orchestrated the armed kidnap of his runaway daughter Princess Shamsa from Cambridgeshire.
In the excoriating findings earlier this month, the High Court ruled Sheikh Mohammed had run an illegal phone hacking racket on UK soil to tap the phones of Princess Haya and her British solicitors and bodyguards.
Now it can be revealed he also hired the services of 70-year-old Mr Page, a former Metropolitan Police officer turned private security consultant who has a long track record of being embroiled in cases involving hacking.
In June 2019, soon after Oxford-educated Princess Haya – the sheikh’s sixth wife – escaped Dubai to the UK in a private jet with the couple’s young children, Mr Page went to meet her security chief, himself a former senior policeman, in London and delivered a ‘clear threat’ to discredit him personally and professionally, a judge found.
In a ruling last year, the High Court said that the 45-year-old princess’s unnamed security chief, who had ‘a distinguished career as a police officer at a high level’ and was ‘used to very challenging conversations’ had been left ‘seriously troubled and concerned’ by the encounter.
The court’s finding was made without evidence from Mr Page who denies any wrongdoing.
Previously, the High Court has referred to him as ‘SP’ – but now a court order has unmasked him as Stuart Page.
The meeting happened two days after racehorse owner Sheikh Mohammed was pictured with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Royal Ascot, and two days before he published poems which his wife interpreted as death threats.
Mr Page was an anti-terror officer with the Metropolitan Police in the 1970s and an Army reservist before reinventing himself as a troubleshooter for Middle Eastern regimes.
The Bentley-driving private investigator – who charges up to £220,000 ($300,000) a month and has a £5million London townhouse – and his security firms Page Group Ltd and Page Protective Services have worked for the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates.
And until recently, he provided security for British embassies including the UK mission in Tel Aviv, Israel, through Page Protective Services.
Last year in a separate case at the High Court, he was accused of hacking confidential emails on behalf of another UAE ruler.
He ‘strongly denies’ doing so, his lawyer said. The judge did not find that Mr Page had obtained hacked documents in that case but said Mr Page ‘operates in a world of covert surveillance… and would be a reasonable inference to draw from these incidents that Mr Page has access to agents with the capacity to hack emails’.
Mr Page started his career as a policeman with the Sussex constabulary on his 19th birthday.
A career break took him to Saudi Arabia where he worked for Aramco, the national oil company, before returning to Britain to work in private security.
In one of his more colourful roles, he spent two years as a close protection officer for the pop star Boy George who, much to his annoyance, used to call him his ‘pet pig’, according to an interview in The Times.
The Queen has been under pressure to ditch her friendship with Sheikh Mohammed, 72, who rules Dubai and is also the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and owns several properties and racehorses in Britain.
Mr Page’s lawyer John Fordham said yesterday his client ‘does not accept the evidence’ of Princess Haya’s security chief was ‘correct’, adding: ‘Mr Page did not threaten anyone.’
He claimed his client did not have an opportunity to give evidence to rebut the allegations.
Mr Ford also said Mr Page strongly denied participating in the hacking of emails.