Letter: Al-Fayed: I seek no revenge

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The Independent Online
You write that I decided to permit the then editor of the Guardian, Peter Preston, to publish his revelations about improper conduct by MPs because my application for British citizenship had been turned down ("Act of revenge", 6 October). That is not so, as the timetable of events demonstrates.

My brother and I were informed by the Home Office that our applications for naturalisation had been refused on 23 February 1995. The first story in the Guardian about Mr Greer and his associates in the House of Commons appeared on 19 October 1994 - more than four months before. If anyone was seeking revenge, perhaps it was the Home Secretary.

As you reported, I believe in good governance. I made the Prime Minister aware of my concerns through an intermediary on 29 September 1994. It was only when he failed to act, that I made my knowledge public. Had he instigated an inquiry by a High Court judge, which events have now shown is so badly needed, I would have put my evidence to that inquiry.

I have acted in the public interest and remain determined that the truth should be known so that no other overseas investor who comes to this country and acquires a company fairly and squarely is treated as I have been. I provide worthwhile employment for 5,000 British people, I pay pounds 3m a year in personal income tax and my companies enrich the Exchequer to the tune of pounds 25m annually in taxation; I have been treated with disdain long enough.

I do not crave "the acceptance of the British Establishment" and will continue telling the truth no matter what the cost to myself. I have already been insulted in the House of Commons. Under the cloak of Parliamentary privilege, I was accused of "blackmail". It was untrue; and though the Crown Prosecution Service promptly confirmed that there was no substance to that defamatory allegation, the parliamentary record has not been set straight and the Prime Minister has not apologised.

But that is of minor importance compared to the need to investigate all the circumstances surrounding the decision just before the 1987 General Election to set up a Department of Trade and Industry inquiry into my acquisition of House of Fraser more than two years before. Two distinguished former Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry, Norman Tebbit and Leon Brittan, had said there was no justification for such an enquiry. So what went on behind the scenes to bring it about? That is the key to these recent events.

There is much else in the article which could be corrected, but I should point out that it is utterly untrue that I have ever kept the receipts of journalists invited to visit the Paris Ritz.

Mohamed al-Fayed

Chairman, Harrods

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