Rowland returns to fray with broadside against Fayed

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The Independent Online
Tiny Rowland has sent 3,000 boxes containing "evidence" against Mohamed Al Fayed to MPs and journalists. Kim Sengupta and Chris Godsmark looks at the latest twist in the long-running feud between the two tycoons, and listens to the version according to Mr Rowland.

The boxes, and documents inside are glossy and professionally produced. The title is "Mohamed Fayed 4th time lucky? A compendium on the life of the citizen of Egypt, Haiti, and United Arab Emirates". Following Jack Straw's decision to reconsider whether to give citizenship to the Harrods boss, Mr Rowland wants opinion-formers to know what his arch-enemy is " really like".

He is estimated to have spent pounds 100,000 on the exercise.His wife, Josie, said the documents cost "eight or ten pounds each. Tiny said the postage for each box cost ten pounds and twenty five pence. He likes to be accurate with money, you know. The point of doing it is that it's a whole new House of Commons and a new government. Tiny does not want to achieve anything. But the Government is considering Mr Fayed's passport application at the moment. These documents were researched and released over the space of two or three years in the 80s, so many people would not have seen them." Her husband is also upset about the safe-deposit box affair, in which he accuses Mr Fayed of being responsible for contents of the box, which was in the Harrods bank, disappearing. Mrs Rowland said: "There was decades of paperwork in there and Tiny's cut emeralds, but the police don't like me to talk about the contents. Everything was gone".

The war between the two began after Mr Fayed beat Mr Rowland to ownership of Harrods. The former Lonrho boss said the Egyptian-born Mr Fayed had lied about his background and the source of his wealth to get the store.

Mr Rowland's campaign started through the pages of The Observer, which he then owned. He printed material from a leaked DTI report critical of Mr Fayed. Subsequently he circulated a sceptical biography of the new Harrods owner called From Zero to Hero. Mr Fayed retaliated by hanging a replica shark in the Harrods food hall that he called "Tiny". He also taped Mr Rowland at a "peace lunch" and publicised the conversation.

The Conservatives earned the wrath of Mr Fayed by refusing to give him and his brother Ali passports. The new Home Secretary announced before Christmas that he was reconsidering the decision. It follows a decision to quash a challenge made by previous home secretary Michael Howard against a Court of Appeal ruling that the Fayeds' application had been treated unfairly. Mr Fayed has not sued over documents circulated by Mr Rowland in the past. One of his executives said last night: "This sounds like a rehash of the same old material".