(Reuters) - Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed al-Fayed has sold prestigious London department store Harrods to the investment vehicle of the Qatar royal family in a deal reported to be worth around 1.5 billion pounds ($2.3 billion).
Following are facts about al-Fayed:
He was born on January 27, 1933, in Alexandria, where he founded his own company in 1956. From the 1960s he has lived primarily in the United Kingdom.
* BUSINESS DEALINGS:
In a rancorous takeover in 1985, he beat mining giant Lonrho to purchase the House of Fraser, the holding company controlling Harrods.
Spurred on by Lonrho’s Tiny Rowland, the government accused al-Fayed of having misrepresented his ability to finance the takeover.
Though he proved his solvency, his name did not appear on The Sunday Times annual list of the wealthiest people in Britain until 1997.
His relationship with the British establishment was further strained by his involvement in the “cash-for-questions” scandal that arose in 1994, after he said he had paid politicians to table parliamentary questions on his behalf.
* DODI AND DIANA
Al-Fayed’s son Dodi was killed with Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Al-Fayed said in 2008 that he accepted the verdict of an inquest jury and was giving up his legal attempts to show the couple were murdered.
The inquest ruled that Diana and her lover Dodi were unlawfully killed by the grossly negligent driving of their chauffeur and paparazzi photographers pursuing them in a Paris road tunnel.
Al-Fayed had accused Queen Elizabeth’s husband Prince Philip, Diana’s former father-in-law, of ordering British security services to kill her and stop her marrying a Muslim and having his baby.
* FULHAM FC
Al-Fayed has owned London soccer club Fulham since 1997. The team is appearing in the final of the Europa Cup against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, the biggest game in its history.
Sources: Reuters. www.britannica.com
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