MADRID, 2 Sep. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The Egyptian businessman owner of the Harrods department store, Mohamed al Fayed, whose eldest son died in the same accident as Princess Diana of Wales on August 31, 1997, has died at the age of 94.
"Mrs. Mohamed al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, father and grandfather, Mohamed, died peacefully of old age on Wednesday, August 30, 2023," reads a statement issued by the London football club. Fulham FC --in its day owned by Al Fayed-- and picked up by 'The Guardian'.
"He enjoyed a long and full retirement surrounded by his loved ones. The family has asked that his privacy be respected at this time," the letter added.
Mohamed al Fayed was born in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, the son of a school teacher, and began his professional career selling soft drinks and selling sewing machines, but his breakthrough in the business world occurred after meeting what would be his first wife, Samira Khashoggi, sister of Saudi millionaire Adnan Khashoggi.
This work allowed him to establish numerous professional ties in Egypt, which would later enable him to start his own shipping business and later hold the position of adviser to the Sultan of Brunei.
In 1975, already in the United Kingdom, he briefly served on the board of directors of the Lonrho mining conglomerate. Four years later, he bought the Paris Ritz hotel together with his brother Ali.
The next big acquisition of the Al Fayed brothers was Harrods, in 1985, after getting a takeover bid of 615 million pounds sterling (about 717 million euros) for the Knightsbridge (London) department store.
Al Fayed also took over, in 1997, the London soccer club Fulham FC for 6.25 million pounds (about 7.29 million euros), which he would sell in 2013 to billionaire businessman Shahid Khan.
Beyond his performances as a businessman, the Egyptian billionaire became famous for the long campaign he started after the deaths of his son Dodi and Diana of Wales. Al Fayed defended that the accident in which both died was not such, but had been orchestrated by the British security services.
Al Fayed established a friendly relationship with Princess Diana thanks to her sponsorship of charities and other events attended by members of the royal family, notes 'The Guardian'.
The Egyptian tycoon was also known for his clashes with the UK government over its refusal to grant him British citizenship, despite his decades-long stay in the country.