Sheikh Hamad Issa Ali al-Khalifa is accused of agreeing to pay $1.5m each to have meetings with 26 Bollywood stars
A member of Bahrain’s royal family has denied accusations that he failed to pay $35 million to meet 26 top Bollywood stars, including former Miss World Aishwarya Rai and Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor, a London court has heard.
The Bahraini – Sheikh Hamad Issa Ali al-Khalifa – is being accused in court of entering into an agreement with Egyptian businessman Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed to arrange meetings with the 26 stars at $1.5 million per meeting, along with a $500,000 bonus for every third meeting.
Ahmed has now accused Sheikh Hamad of only paying $3 million after meeting four of the actors in 2016 before backing out of the deal and instead entering into an agreement with another agent.
Among the actors he met were Shah Rukh Khan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Salman Khan and Ranveer Singh, according to court documents.
In a prepared statement heard by the court, Sheikh Hamad said that he is “deeply disappointed that someone whom I had come to think of as a good friend is bringing this claim."
He added, “I was trusting when Ahmed offered to dintroduce me to my Bollywood idols,” he said. “I have since been persued by Ahmed for enormous sums of money, despite having been very generous to him in the past.”
The sheikh added that he refutes that there was “ever any contractual arrangement” with Ahmed.
“I believe this claim has no merit, and I shall defend it,” he said.
Sheikh Hamad is expected in court to give evidence on Thursday.
In a statement, Ahmed said that “the Sheikh claimed that the payments had stopped because the Bahraini Royal Family had taken over his funds and stopped him spending as they did approve of his passion for Bollywood.”
He added, “I was shocked then to find he had met with 15 further Bollywood stars in eight days shortly after he terminated our agreement."
The sheikh’s lawyers said the case “should never have been brought.”
“It is an unjustified attempt by the claimants to exploit the vulnerability and extreme generosity of the defendant by seeking to characterise a relationship of trust and friendship as a cold, commercial relationship between two businessmen,” they are quoted as saying in the Guardian. “It is an opportunistic claim.”