Death of tycoon
Businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed dies, aged 94
Billionaire businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, who owned a vast estate in Scotland and was the former owner of Harrods department store and Fulham Football Club, has died aged 94.
Mr Al-Fayed died almost 26 years to the day after his son was killed alongside Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris.
Born in Egypt, the former owner of the Paris Ritz was behind some of the biggest business deals of the 20th century.
He ran a shipping business, became an adviser to the sultan of Brunei and moved to the UK in the mid-1960s. He bought the Paris Ritz hotel in 1979 and became a household name when he bought House of Fraser for £615 million, acquiring Harrods as part of the deal. He sold Harrods to Qatar in 2010 for a reported $2.4 billion.
The Sunday Times Rich List put the family’s fortune at £1.7 billion, making Al-Fayed the 104th richest person in Britain.
He enjoyed a strong bond with Scotland, built partly on a fractious relationship with the English establishment. Al-Fayed applied for British citizenship, but his application was rejected in both 1995 and 1998.
In 1972 he acquired the near-ruined Balnagown Castle in Easter Ross, and restored the building into a family home set in 65,000 acres. He had once said he would relocate to Scotland and hope to become president should it gain independence.
He was an opponent of the royals, describing them as a “Dracula family” during an inquest into the death of his son Dodi and Princess Diana. He was unable to accept the jury’s verdict that their deaths were caused by a negligent driver and claimed his son’s death was at the hands of dark forces aimed at preventing Diana from marrying a Muslim and bearing his child.
Mr Al-Fayed’s death was announced by Al Jazeera Egypt, which said he was buried following Friday prayers after a service at Regent’s Park Mosque in London. Ashraf Haider, a member of his family, said: “My wife’s grandfather, the Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, has died.
“We belong to God and to Him we shall return.”