The chief executive of the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned telecoms company is to join Vodafone’s board in a move that will deepen national security concerns about one of Britain’s critical infrastructure providers.
The FTSE 100 company has formed a new strategic partnership with state-controlled e&, also known as Etisalat, which has built up a 14.6pc stake in Vodafone.
As part of the deal, Etisalat chief executive, Hatem Dowidar, will be granted a seat on Vodafone’s board.
If the Abu Dhabi-based firm increases its holding above 20pc, it will be able to nominate a second non-executive director to the British telecoms giant’s board.
Etisalat is 60pc owned by the UAE government. The country has attracted international condemnation for its use of online censorship and alleged attempts to spy on its citizens.
The UK High Court ruled in 2021 that Dubai leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, had hacked into the phones of his ex-wife Princess Haya bint al-Hussein as well as her legal advisers and staff during a row over custody of their two children.
Sheikh Rashid al-Maktoum is the Prime Minister of the UAE as well as ruler of Dubai. He has denied the allegations.
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