A member of the Bahraini royal family is being sued for refusing to pay a staggering $33 million; a fee he is alleged to have agreed with an Egyptian businessman for arranging meetings with Bollywood actors.
Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali Al Khalifa, a cousin of the king of Bahrain and a Bollywood fan, is alleged to have reneged on an agreement he had with the businessman to set up meetings with 26 Bollywood actors, the Financial Times reported. It is claimed that Al Khalifa agreed to pay $1.5 million for each meeting with a film star plus a $500,000 bonus payment for every third meeting.
Egyptian businessman, Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed, claims that he struck a deal with Al Khalifa to arrange meetings with 26 Bollywood stars whose names were handed to him by Al Khalifa. According to a claim form filed at the High Court in London, the two men struck an agreement but Ahmed claims that he has only been paid $3 million of the total $33 million that was promised.
In a statement sent to MEMO, Al Khalifa said:"I am deeply disappointed that someone whom I had come to think of as a good friend is bringing this claim. I was trusting when Ahmed offered to introduce me to my Bollywood idols. I have since been pursued by Ahmed for enormous sums of money, despite having been very generous to him in the past. I do not accept that there was ever any contractual arrangement between us, let alone one that was exclusive and could never be terminated. I believe this claim has no merit, and I shall defend it."
The high-profile case is expected to start tomorrow with the sheikh due to testify later in the week along with his personal assistant. According to the FT no Bollywood stars are due to give evidence in the civil trial which is scheduled to last five days.
Ahmed claimed that he had arranged several meetings between his client and Bollywood stars including two of its most famous actors, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in Mumbai in early 2016. However, Ahmed alleges that the sheikh then backed out of their agreement and instructed another agent to arrange meetings with 13 other Bollywood stars.
Al Khalifa denies handing Ahmed a list of 26 names but agrees that the businessman had arranged five meetings with Bollywood stars.
The High Court is said to have ruled last year that the case could be tried in London rather than Bahrain because Ahmed had business connections in the capital.
NB This article was updated on 13 November 2018 at 09.25am with a comment from Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali Al Khalifa and to correct references which claim his bodyguard was giving evidence in the case.