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Businessman Mohamed Al Fayed dies aged 94


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Egypt-born businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, who owned a string of prominent British companies, has died aged 94.

His death was confirmed on Friday evening in a statement from Fulham football club, of which he was owner and chair from 1997 until 2013.

Al Fayed was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1929. As well as owning Fulham, Al Fayed, who moved to London in the 1960s, for several decades owned Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, west London, and the Ritz hotel in Paris.

His son, Dodi, then the companion of Diana, Princess of Wales, died alongside her in a car crash in Paris on August 31 1997. Al Fayed blamed the royal family for the crash.

A series of investigations instead blamed the car’s driver.

After the deaths Harrods was stripped of the royal warrant, a sign of the British royal family’s patronage, that it had held for nearly a century. Al Fayed later sold the shop to Qatar Holding, a vehicle for the emirate’s royal family.

Shahid Khan, who bought the Fulham club from Al Fayed, said in a statement that he sent his “sincere condolence” to Al Fayed’s family and friends.

“I always enjoyed my time with Mr Al Fayed, who was wise, colourful and committed to Fulham, and I am forever grateful for his trust in me to succeed him as chairman in 2013,” Khan said.

Al Fayed was also caught up in controversies over payments he made to two Conservative members of parliament to ensure they placed parliamentary questions on his behalf.

The affair led to rule changes to outlaw such practices.

His purchase in 1985 of House of Fraser, then owner of Harrods, led to an inquiry by the then Department of Trade and Industry that branded him “unreliable, untrue and bogus”.

The investigation concluded that, during a takeover battle with the Lonrho conglomerate, Al Fayed and his brother consistently misrepresented their wealth and background.

Although he consistently sought British citizenship, he was never granted it.

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