Fayeds appeal against refusal of citizenship

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The Independent Online
The refusal by Home Secretary Michael Howard to grant British citizenship to Mohamed and Ali al-Fayed, owners of Harrods, was an attack on their "good character", the Court of Appeal was told yesterday.

Michael Beloff QC, representing the brothers, said they had provided all the necessary information about their background but the letters denying naturalisation had been "terse in the extreme" and it was "manifestly unfair" that no reasons were given. He said they had been denied the chance to bear the citizenship of the country "which is their home; to which they feel a very close affinity; where they have extensive business interests; where they make enormous contributions both in taxation to the Exchequer and in donations to charities; and whose citizenship their children (and Ali Fayed's wife) already have".

The brothers are appealing against a High Court decision that the Home Secretary acted lawfully in refusing their application. The case is being played out against a background of speculation that the refusal was motivated by "legally improper, purely political grounds". Mohamed Fayed is a key player in the "cash for questions" row. The hearing continues.