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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Shah Rukh Khan to feature in UK High Court trial as businessman sues Bahraini royal

Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali al-Khalifa is being sued for £32.5 million for allegedly breaching a verbal agreement with an Egyptian businessman

Shah Rukh Khan is one of four Bollywood stars who met up with Sheikh Hamad. Credit: Clint McLean for The National
Shah Rukh Khan is one of four Bollywood stars who met up with Sheikh Hamad. Credit: Clint McLean for The National

Bollywood legends Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan are set to feature in a court battle in Britain after an Egyptian businessman filed a claim to London’s High Court against a member of the Bahraini royal family.

Ahmed Adel Abdullah Ahmed alleges that Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali al-Khalifa, a distant cousin of Bahrain’s king, failed to pay him for arranging meetings with some of Bollywood’s top stars.

Mr Ahmed claims that he is owed £32.5 million (Dh154.8m) by Sheikh Hamad after the pair made an oral agreement in 2015, in which the royal gave the businessman a list of 26 actors he wanted to meet.

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The claim filed by Mr Ahmed says that the Bahraini agreed to pay a fee of around £1m per one-to-one meeting, lasting between 15 and 25 minutes, with a bonus of £385,000 for every third meeting.

Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan (L-R) were allegedly on a list of 26 stars Sheikh Hamad requested to meet. (Courtesy: Star TV)
Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan (L-R) were allegedly on a list of 26 stars Sheikh Hamad requested to meet. (Courtesy: Star TV)

According to court papers, the deal was made during two meetings, the first in Bahrain in December 2015 and the second via a telephone conversation in January 2016 while Sheikh Hamad was in London.

Mr Ahmed alleges that after the sheikh attended five meetings with four stars including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Adiyta Roy Kapoor and Ranveer Singh in Mumbai and Dubai, for which he paid around £2.3m, he then cancelled pre-arranged meetings with actors Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan.

The claim also states that the royal further breached the deal, which provided for exclusivity, by instructing a different agent to introduce him to another 13 Bollywood stars.

Sheikh Hamad, who is represented by Herbert Smith Freehills, is contesting the lawsuit, arguing that he permitted Mr Ahmed to arrange meetings but did not agree to pay fees. He also disputes the Egyptian’s claim that he was handed a list of 26 stars, adding that discussions never reached that point.

UK High Court judge ruled in May that the case must be heard in London after Sheikh Hamad tried to have it moved to Bahrain. A date for the hearing has not been finalised.