SHEIKH DOWN

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Alia Wa­heed

A BAHRAINI sheikh is be­ing sued for £35mil­lion af­ter al­legedly agree­ing to pay a for­tune to meet his Bol­ly­wood film idols – and then chang­ing his mind.

Ha­mad Isa Ali al-khal­ifa, 50, will ap­pear in the High Court this week over claims he re­neged on a deal with Egyp­tian busi­ness­man Ahmed Adel Ab­dal­lah Ahmed.

The 43-year-old, who runs an events firm, claims the film-mad royal drew up a wish list of 26 Bol­ly­wood stars he was des­per­ate to meet.

It was said to in­clude Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire star Anil Kapoor and for­mer Miss World and Bride and Prej­u­dice star Aish­warya Rai, along with Bunty Walla, San­jay Dutt, Deepika Padukone and Kar­ishma Kapoor.

Mr Ahmed claims he of­fered to or­gan­ise one-to-one meet­ings at lo­ca­tions in Dubai and In­dia.

But he said: “In spite of the end­less amounts of cash he was will­ing to spend on his ob­ses­sion, the pay­ments sud­denly dried up.”

Mr Ahmed claims the sheikh – a cousin of the King of Bahrain, who has a net worth of £2.9bil­lion – agreed to pay more than £1.1mil­lion per star meet­ing. He also claims he agreed each meet­ing would last no longer than 25 min­utes and the sheikh of­fered a bonus of £380,000 for every third suc­cess­ful meet­ing.

How­ever, Mr Ahmed al­leges af­ter meet­ing four ac­tors, in­clud­ing Ran­veer Singh and “King Khan” Shah Rukh Khan in 2016, he failed to turn up to two more then backed out, hav­ing paid just £2.3mil­lion.

And he claims the sheikh pulled out of a £400,000 deal to spon­sor The Times of In­dia Film Awards – In­dia’s equiv­a­lent of our BAFTAS. Mr Ahmed said: “I was shocked then to find he had met with 15 fur­ther Bol­ly­wood stars in eight days shortly af­ter he ter­mi­nated our agree­ment. Given the pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship I felt we had built up dur­ing our work, I feel be­trayed.”

Mr Ahmed is su­ing for dam­ages aris­ing partly from breach of con­tract. But Sheikh Ha­mad’s team de­nies a for­mal agree­ment was ever made.

In court pa­pers, the sheikh’s de­fence claims he was told each en­counter would cost £30,000 to £50,000 but was later told meet­ing Shah Rukh Khan would cost ten times that amount.

He claims Mr Ahmed “put un­fair pressure” on him for large sums of money and he felt “threat­ened”.

He also said the meet­ings were set up at in­con­ve­nient times.

Sheikh Ha­mad has de­clined to comment.

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