x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Police hope e-mails will shine light on Atlantis guest-list leak mystery

Police are scrutinising e-mail records at The Atlantis hotel to find out how the celebrity guest list for last week's lavish party was leaked.

DUBAI // Police are scrutinising e-mail records in the computer system at The Atlantis hotel to find out how the celebrity guest list for last week's lavish party was leaked - complete with room numbers and arrival times. A staff member who worked on preparations for the party is in police custody. "This is being treated seriously because there were the details of foreign royal family members on the list," a source at the hotel said. "It was not just a list of names.

"There were all sorts of personal details on it." A hotel spokesman declined to comment on speculation the list was leaked to a foreign newspaper in the hope of payment. "We continue to work closely with the authorities during their investigation, doing all we can to assist," was all the spokesman would say. Dubai Customs officials have denied targeting young celebrities for searches as they arrived at the airport to attend the US$20 million (Dh73m) party.

Some of the celebrities known for their hedonistic lifestyles among the 2,000 guests have described being strip-searched. Lilly Allen, a pop singer, Agyness Deyn, a model, and her pop star boyfriend, Albert Hammond Jr, told a British newspaper they were subjected to hour-long personal searches. A spokesman for Dubai Customs said those searched were chosen at random, not because they were identified as being likely to carry drugs. "We choose different people but there's nothing personal in it. This is just the process we use to do our job."

Celebrities described the searches to the UK's Mail on Sunday newspaper. Allen, 23, said she was "terrified" by the ordeal, and Deyn called her experience "traumatic". "I was strip-searched, which was so nice as soon as you arrive. I knew I didn't have anything on me so I wasn't worried. I wasn't paranoid, just terrified," Allen told the newspaper. "It was at the airport and took more than an hour. It was really scary as they didn't tell you what they were doing, they just said, 'Take off trousers' and I was like, 'Ahhh, help'."

Deyn, 25, said: "Both Albert and I were strip-searched. It was really traumatic." tspender@thenational.ae