Dubai businessman in Bollywood spat with Bahrain sheikh

Court documents allege breach of contract over planned meetings with Bollywood stars
Ahmed Adel Abdallah was given a list of 26 Bollywood actors and actresses that the sheikh wished to meet. Photo for illustrative purposes only.
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 08 Jun 2017 12:33 PM

A Dubai-based businessman is suing a member of the Bahraini royal family in a dispute over alleged planned meetings with Bollywood stars, according to documents filed in a London court.

Egyptian national Ahmed Adel Abdallah, who resides in Dubai and does business in the UAE and London, has alleged that Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali Al Khalifa, a distant cousin of the King of Bahrain, had given him a list of 26 actors and actresses that he wished to meet, but reneged after meeting four and found a new facilitator.

Abdallah is claiming more than $40 million of damages in the case, according to documents filed in London’s Commercial Court, seen by Arabian Business.

According to the documents, Al Khalifa was introduced to Abdallah, who, by the nature of his job running events, had high-level contacts who could help facilitate meetings with actors.

Sheikh Hamad had a personal passion for Bollywood and was eager to meet the stars.

The two parties allegedly entered into an oral agreement between December 2015 and January 2016, under which Abdallah’s company CBSC Events & Exhibitions would exclusively arrange for 26 actors and actresses to meet the sheikh, for 15-25 minutes each at a cost of $1.5 million per meeting.

There was to be a bonus $500,000 for every third meeting. The agreement was concluded in London, the documents say.

However, it is alleged that after five meetings with four Bollywood stars in Mumbai and Dubai, and payment of $3 million-$3.4 million, the defendant breached the agreement by refusing to pay the sums agreed for the meetings.

He then found another person to introduce him to 13 Bollywood film stars and did not go through with the exclusive agreement with Abdallah, it is alleged.

Abdallah and his company are claiming more than $40 million in damages pursuant to loss of income and breach of contract.

Sheikh Hamad has denied any agreement on fee payment or exclusivity with the claimant.

On May 23, the Commercial Court issued a ruling in the first stage of the case – which was to decide whether or not proceedings could be heard in London, or whether Bahrain was a more appropriate jurisdiction, as argued by the defendant.

However, the court declined Sheikh Hamad’s plea and the case is to be heard in the UK.

The ruling will bring clarity for other GCC-based claimants making decisions on where to bring a legal case.

A statement from Abdallah’s lawyers, London-based Zaiwalla & Co, said: “The judgment reinforces the principle that in determining which forum is the most appropriate forum, the court will consider connecting factors, by reference to identity of parties, their location and whereabouts of documents and witnesses and where the issues will most suitably be tried in the interest of both parties and the ends of justice.”

Efforts were made to contact lawyers for Sheikh Hamad.

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Last Updated: Sun 18 Jun 2017 09:34 AM GST

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