The Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates hacked the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya, half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, and five of his associates using NSO Pegasus spyware, reveals The Guardian.
This espionage took place as legal proceedings concerning the well-being of their two children were between them in London, where they had taken refuge with their mother in 2019.
The hack was discovered by William Marczak, an expert in the use of cell phone monitoring software by nation states, who monitors the use of the NSO’s Pegasus spyware around the world for years with its NGO Citizen Lab.
He had first identified the Princess’s lawyer before Cherie Blair, a successful lawyer and wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, but also an adviser to NSO Group, does not alert the princess.
“ Around midnight Israeli time ” , Che rie Blair had indeed received a phone call from a “ senior member of the management team of NSO Group ” informing him that the princess and her lawyers might have been targeted by Pegasus and asking him to inform them.
According to Marczak, NSO would have terminated its contract with the Emirates in the process. According to Ron Deibert, the director of the Citizen Lab, these would be the first identified cases of use of Pegasus targeting British citizens in the United Kingdom.
The Guardian also reports that agents working on behalf of the Sheikh had also attempted to purchase an estate of 30 million pounds sterling next to Haya’s house. In response, the judge created an exclusion zone of 100 around his property and a no-fly zone of 1 000 feet above to protect her from the sheikh and his agents.