A distant cousin of the king of Bahrain told the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom on Monday that he was astonished at being sued for £16 million (Rs 147 crore) by an Egyptian businessman over an alleged deal to meet top Bollywood stars, AFP reported.
Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali Al Khalifa allegedly entered an agreement with Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed to pay £35 million (Rs 321 crore) to meet 26 top Bollywood actors. Ahmed sued the royal earlier this month for allegedly reneging on his promise.
The Bollywood stars Sheikh Hamad was supposed to meet included Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor, The Guardian reported. Ahmed claimed that during a phone conversation in January 2016, the sheikh agreed to pay him over £1 million (Rs 9.16 crore) for each meeting with a Bollywood star, plus a bonus of more than £3,50,000 (Rs 3.21 crore) after every third meeting.
But the royal claims the alleged deal is “entirely fictitious”. He denied he was to pay Ahmed £35 million to meet the filmstars, claiming he expected to shell out as little as $30,000 to $50,000.
The sheikh met Shah Rukh Khan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Salman Khan, and Ranveer Singh. “When I learned of the claims that Ahmed was making against me in these proceedings, I was astonished,” the royal told the High Court on Monday, AFP reported. “I was grateful to Ahmed for helping me meet four top Bollywood artists. I expressed my gratitude frequently by words and my gestures: in total, he received around £2.7 million (Rs 24.7 crore) from me in relation to these meetings.”
Sheikh Hamad said he considered the money he paid Ahmed “comfortably in excess” of the expenditure the businessman had incurred in arranging the meetings, including the Bollywood artists’ fees. “I do not think that this gives him licence to demand vast sums of money to which he is not entitled,” the royal added.
In his statement, Sheikh Hamad said he has been diagnosed with an “addiction to people-pleasing”, the Financial Times reported. “I had given [him] ...this money because I wanted to please him and I saw how happy it made him to receive it,” the sheikh said.