Fayed denies sex assault on teen girl

LONDON (Reuters) - Harrods’ owner Mohamed al Fayed was questioned by police on Wednesday over a newspaper report which alleged he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at his London department store, his spokeswoman said.

Mohamed al-Fayed arrives for the inquest into the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed at the High Court in London, January 14, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Fayed went to a police station in London to deny the report during a 30-minute meeting.

“We confirm that Mohamed al Fayed today voluntarily attended an interview with police to categorically refute an allegation widely reported in the media,” his spokeswoman Katharine Witty told reporters outside the store.

“Mr al Fayed vehemently denies this allegation and is confident that his name will be cleared.”

Fayed released the statement in response to a report on the Sun website.

A London police spokesman said: “We can confirm that a man attended a west London police station by prior arrangement and was questioned under caution.

“He was questioned in relation to an allegation of sexual assault on a girl of 15 at a business premises in central London. The allegation was made in May 2008.”

The spokesman said police would not confirm the man’s identity and no arrests had been made. The investigation was ongoing, he added.

The Egyptian-born businessman, who also owns Premiership soccer club Fulham, has had a difficult relationship with the British authorities who he says he has distrusted ever since he was cold-shouldered over a request for a British passport.

He accused Prince Philip of ordering British spies to arrange the car crash in which Diana Princess of Wales and his son Dodi died in 1997.

His accusations were rejected at an inquest which concluded earlier this year that the couple had not been murdered.

Reporting by Michael Holden and Peter Griffiths; Editing by Steve Addison