Fayed court battle costs pounds 60,000

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The Independent Online
The Home Office has incurred legal bills of pounds 60,000 so far in fighting applications by the Fayed brothers to become naturalised as British citizens, the Government said yesterday.

Timothy Kirkhope, a junior Home Office minister, disclosed the legal costs of the wrangle with the Harrods owner Mohamed al-Fayed and his brother, Ali, in a Commons reply. But he could not put a figure on internal administrative costs.

Mr Kirkhope stressed that "details of the costs awarded against the Home Office have not yet been received but would be payable only in the event of our appeal to the House of Lords being unsuccessful".

The matter was referred to the Lords by the Home Secretary, Michael Howard, when Appeal Court judges ruled in favour of the Fayeds in November last year. Mr Howard was that told the brothers had not been treated fairly by the Home Office.

The Fayeds have lived in Britain for more than 30 years, having been granted permission to remain in the country. Ali al-Fayed made his original application for British citizenship in January 1993 and was followed in his bid by his brother in February 1994.