United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States Hacked Emails Reveal Party Life
Luxury trips, sex trafficking and drugs raise question on state of Women in the UAE
The Intercept ran an investigation on the United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States Yousef Al Otaiba. For years, he lived a double life entertaining high-end Washington leaders with alcohol, drugs and prostituted women. It was not until the two worlds collided in leaked emails that showed the ambassadors lavish lifestyle. Nevertheless, the question was raised on the worth of women in a country where powerful men can get away with almost anything.
In 2008, once Otaiba was already ambassador to the US, Otaiba hired his college friend Byron Fogan to run a personal foundation with money from the UAE. Fogan was a part of the “Team Alpha,” the original party crew of Otaiba. Not only was Fogan running the foundation but he was also employed as a legal advisor for the embassy and an adviser for the UAE in a Washington public relations firm. The firm came to be The Harbour Group.
Fogan was arrested for stealing $1 million in funds from the foundation to feed his alcohol and gambling addiction. The foundation ended but Otaiba kept him on his two other roles.
Otaiba is a man of power, connected to people like Jared Kushner. His lavish spending has made him notorious for his parties and events thrown. He is also close to Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director, and other governmental leaders.
Otaiba has recently tried to fix the image of the UAE, by highlighting the importance of women’s rights. He event went to far as to publically release a letter he wrote to his young daughter on International Women’s Day according to Haper’s Bazaar
“In the United Arab Emirates, we are doing everything we can to build a better, more secure future for you and others around the region and world,” wrote Otaiba in the letter. “We are building an open, tolerant and progressive society that you will play a major part in one day.”
However, this does not reflect the present day status of Women in the Middle East. Still, Women are prosecuted for indecent exposure if showing to much skin or limited on basic human rights, which goes fully against what Otaiba wrote.
Parties and Sex
Global Leaks is the group that obtained entry to Otaiba’s email account. One story, from the leaks, talks about his win in getting other Arab Leaders to support the then President George W Bush. Bush wanted to push more troops into Iraq. Otaiba told his friends to prepare for a weekend in Vegas. He rented a penthouse suite at the MGM hotel during an expensive NBA All-Star Game weekend. He joked about having sex with young women that weekend in a plan he called “Dumbo Drop”
Roman Paschal, an old friend of Otaiba who used to be a part of his party crew, believed that not all the sex was consensual over the years of partying. This occurred after Paschal met a woman who he believed was caught in sex trafficking. The Russian woman told him about a friend who was beat by a guy who then stole her passport. She was one of several women who confessed to paschal this dark side of prostitution.
For women that are non-UAE citizens, prosecuted crimes are dealt harsher. Like a case from 2006 that had a women claim she was gang raped. UAE cracked down, since she was not a citizen, and gave her five years in prison, five years of probation, 150 lashes and deportation according to Khaleej Times
In 2008, Otaiba created a nonprofit Oasis Foundation and made Fogan executive director of Oasis. In 2016, Fogan was taken to court for stealing again money. He stole $1.9 million from Oasis but was not fire from his other jobs but in fact supported by the UAE.
Before the scandal broke, Fogan wrote to Otaiba in an email saying “I FUCK WHORES!!!! Tell Roman to get ready for a DANA trip!!!!” Dana is a hotel in Abu Dhabi, Paschal said they would often pick up sex workers there. Of course, Otaiba boasted with his part crew and forwarded the message to Paschal.
Fogan lost his embassy-advising role as well his Harbour group and Oasis role. He eventually went to prison in 2015.
The night that Paschal and Fogan visited the Dana Hotel on their trip, Paschal reconsidered what he was doing. He told Otaiba he could no longer be a part of this life, one that spanned four years. He saw him again one more time in Washington when he ran into Otaiba and “Team Alpha” but did not follow his old friends.
“Paschal was brave enough to speak up against ambassador Otaiba and his group of misogynists,” said Naz.
The role of women, to Otaiba and his friends, mirrors the ideals that many men in the Middle East carry: That women are nothing but objects.
“Listen, it’s women,” the FBI told Paschal according to the Intercept. “To be honest with you, nobody cares.