Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum was said to be just 40 miles off the coast of India when armed guards swooped on the boat — and she’s not been heard of since.
The 33-year-old daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s billionaire ruler, had been sailing across the Indian Ocean in a daring James Bond style escape bid.
According to friends, she saved up £315,000 and contacted Hervé Jaubert, a former French spy whom she learned had escaped Dubai authorities by boat after putting on a burqa and then scuba diving.
She contacted him and by the end of 2017 they hatched a plan.
Together with Tiina Jauhiainen, her Finnish martial arts teacher and friend, she drove over the border to Oman where via dinghy and then jet skies they boarded Mr Jaubert's 100ft yacht called Nostromo.
But after a week at sea on the Indian Ocean, Mr Jaubert claims they were spotted and monitored by reconnaissance planes.
Then off Goa they were boarded by what appeared to be crew from the Indian coastguard.
The runaway princess was then dragged off the yacht by what were believed to have been commandos and has not been heard of since, although it is believed she may have been hauled back to Dubai.
Ms Jauhiainen said she watched her friend being dragged away "kicking and screaming for her life".
She has not been seen in public since and her Instagram account has been closed.
Her daring escape is the subject of a BBC documentary Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of a Missing Princess.
In this Mr Jaubert said: “She said she preferred to be killed on the boat rather than going back to Dubai.
“I don’t even know where she is. I have the gravest concern.”
The princess laid out the reasons why she wanted to flee in a YouTube video.
She alleged her family had imprisoned and tortured her and she now wanted to escape the clutches of her father, Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
She said: “What I hope for after I leave is that I get my passport and I have freedom of choice in my life.
“I am feeling positive about the future. It’s a start of an adventure. It is a start of my claiming my life, my freedom, freedom of choice.
“I don’t expect it to be easy. Nothing is easy. But I expect it to be the start of a new chapter in my life – one where I have some voice, where I don’t have to be silenced and I can talk about myself.
“I don’t know how I will feel just waking up in the morning and thinking ‘I can do whatever I want today'.
“It will be such a new different feeling.”
Sun Online contacted the government of Dubai for comment.
- Escape from Dubai: The Mystery of the Missing Princess will air on Thursday on BBC2 at 9pm.
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