As weird as it may sound but a lawsuit has been filed in London, UK against Sheikh Hamad Isa Ali al-Khalifa, a cousin of Bahrain’s king. He is being sued by an Egyptian middleman for breach of verbal contract for which he was employed to set up meetings between the Sheikh and his favourite Bollywood actors. Salman Khan’s Fan Shahrukh Gets Arrested for Threatening His Father, Salim Khan.
Ahmed Adel Abdallah Ahmed, an Egyptian businessman claims that Sheikh Khalifa had contracted his firm CBSC Events to help him set up meetings with 26 Bollywood stars for a fee off an estimated US $35 million or GBP £27 million. The stars ranged from the Khans to Ranveer Singh, Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone and Anil Kapoor.
Ahmed says he arranged for the Sheikh to meet with four of the Bollywood stars from his wish-list – Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh and Aditya Roy Kapoor for a fee of $3 million but then refused to pay the rest of the agreed sum after meetings were set up with other actors like Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan. The middle man has hence sued Sheikh Khalifa for breach of contract and $20.9 million in damages.
According to Ahmed’s lawyers, the sheikh met with Shah Rukh Khan at the St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai on 16 January 2016 and he came with $400,000 in cash. Two days after the meeting, the sheikh allegedly paid the balance amount to Ahmed split in British and U.S. currencies -- £6,00,000 and $2,50,000 in cash. The lawyers say they have submitted photographic evidence of this transaction to the court.
Ahmed also accuses the Sheikh of agreeing to pay more than £380,000 to sponsor the Times of India Film Awards, where he would be able to mix with Bollywood actors, but then reneging on this deal as well.
Sheikh Khalifa has however denied that he promised to pay such an outrageous amount of money to make his dream come true. He said he was “very enthusiastic at the prospect” of these meetings but said he expected to be charged “$30,000 to $50,000 for private meetings”.
“I am deeply disappointed that someone whom I had come to think of as a good friend is bringing this claim,” according to a prepared statement by Sheikh Khalifa. “I was trusting when Ahmed offered to introduce me to my Bollywood idols. I have since been pursued by Ahmed for enormous sums of money, despite having been very generous to him in the past. I do not accept that there was ever any contractual arrangement between us, let alone one that was exclusive and could never be terminated. I believe this claim has no merit, and I shall defend it,” the statement read.
"This is an interesting case and involves oral agreements reached in London between two parties from the Middle East, concerning arranging meetings with famous Bollywood stars," said Pavani Reddy, the Managing Partner of Zaiwalla & Co – the London-based law firm representing Ahmed in the trial, which began on Monday. Oral agreements are accepted as contracts and enforceable under UK law but a judge has to determine that if such a contract existed and if it had then been breached.
But the details published by British publications such as the Guardian show that the Sheikh had agreed to spend thousands of dollars for meetings with the Bollywood stars that could last as less as 15 minutes. If Ahmed’s claims are true then the cost of one meeting priced at $1.5 million a meeting would have cost the Sheikh $100,000-a-minute.
Neither party in the lawsuit has called on any of the Bollywood stars in question as witnesses because they were not privy to the arrangement between the Sheikh and the businessman.
The lawsuit is ongoing at the London High Court and is expected to last this week. (With PTI inputs)