Tears in court over Fayed's citizenship

MOHAMED AL FAYED broke down in the witness box yesterday when the subject of his refused British citizenship was raised.

The emotional scene was witnessed at the High Court libel action being brought against Mr Fayed by the former Tory minister Neil Hamilton over the "cash for questions" affair. After six days in the stand,where the Egyptian-born businessman has often angrily defended himself against accusations from opposing counsel, a question from his own QC appeared to shake him to the core.

George Carman QC told the court that the Harrods owner had received a letter from the Home Office in May this year, informing him that citizenship had been refused - despite his charitable works, his employment of over 3,000 people, his "full and substantial" payment of UK taxes and his support for British commercial interests.

The reasons for refusal, Mr Carman explained, were Mr Fayed's responsibility for the employees who opened business rival Tiny Rowland's Harrods safety deposit box, as well as his admitted payments of cash and provision of benefits in kind to MPs.

"How do you feel about that?" the barrister asked.

"It's very sad and very unconvincing. For someone like me who has given 35 years of his life," Mr Fayed replied, his voice trailing off. He shook his head and blinked away tears.

"I think you've answered the question," interjected Mr Carman. However, Mr Fayed groped for his water flask and continued: "And he's insulted, humiliated ... his son can be murdered..." Pointing at Mr Hamilton, he added: "And I have to sit in the face of crooked people. They know they are guilty. He knows he take cash. I have to continue such trauma for the rest of my life."

Mr Hamilton is suing Mr Fayed over a Channel Four Dispatches programme in January 1997 in which Mr Fayedclaimed that the former MP for Tatton demanded and accepted cash, gift vouchers and a free holiday at the Paris Ritz, in return for asking parliamentary questions on Mr Fayed's behalf.

Mr Fayed, who denies libel and pleads justification, has said in evidence that Mr Hamilton received around pounds 50,000 from him through a political lobbyist and direct cash sums of between pounds 40,000 and pounds 60,000.

The businessman, however, could offer only vague answers yesterday when asked about the payments.

Mr Carman: "First of all, were the payments that you made to Neil Hamilton - that's face-to-face payments, man to man when you were alone - confined, or not, to the 12 occasions when there is a diary note?"

Mr Fayed: "There was other occasions ... it's numerous visits which was not recorded in my diary." The payments had continued for a "couple of years", but he admitted he was "not good on detail".

However, when asked "Do you have a clear memory or not of paying Neil Hamilton?", he replied "definite".

Mr Carman: "Are you in any doubt about it?"

Mr Fayed: "No doubt whatsoever."

The case continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine