Al Fayed Accuses Duke
Of Edinburgh Of Plotting
To Murder Diana
By Tim Reid
The New York Times

MOHAMED AL FAYED accused the Duke of Edinburgh yesterday of masterminding the murder of Diana, Princess of Wales, Michael Howard, the former Home Secretary, of taking a £1.5 million bribe and Neil Hamilton of hiring "rent boys" during a day of what were described as "wild and groundless" allegations in the High Court.
On the third day of Mr Hamilton's libel action against the Harrods owner, Mr Al Fayed was accused by Desmond Browne, QC, for the former minister, of making up allegations as he went along. Mr Al Fayed, during cross-examination, challenged the Duke to sue him over allegations that he masterminded a plot to murder the Princess and Dodi Fayed.
He also repeated claims that Dominic Lawson, Editor of The Sunday Telegraph, is an MI6 agent.
Mr Browne said that, to give substance to his conspiracy theory over the Paris car crash that killed the couple, Mr Al Fayed had "quite falsely on a number of occasions" accused the Duke of Edinburgh of "masterminding" it.
Mr Browne: "Did you not say that Prince Philip had masterminded it because he has German blood and Nazi views?"
Mr Al Fayed: "I have the right to say what I feel . . . the Editor of The Sunday Telegraph definitely works for MI6 . . . his brother-in-law works for MI6 . . . these are the people who control democracy in this country. Let MI5 and MI6 sue me. Let Prince Philip sue me, then I will go through everything. They killed my son."
Mr Al Fayed denied that Henri Paul, the driver of the car in which the couple were killed, was drunk at the time of the crash.
Mr Browne: "He was three times over the French driving limit, was he not?"
Mr Al Fayed: "That is not true . . . his blood was changed in the mortuary, Henri Paul was on the MI6 files for three years." Mr Al Fayed also appeared to contradict earlier evidence when he claimed that he had paid Mr Hamilton, the former Tory MP for Tatton, more than £100,000 to ask questions in the House of Commons on his behalf.
Asked about a meeting he had with Brian Hitchen, then Editor of The Express on Sunday, in 1994, Mr Al Fayed told the court that he may have given Mr Hamilton between £40,000 and £60,000 in cash, in addition to £50,000 he said the MP was paid by the political lobbyist Ian Greer. Mr Al Fayed, who is being sued by Mr Hamilton over allegations on a Channel 4 programme that he took thousands of pounds for asking Commons questions, had previously claimed that Mr Hamilton had received £30,000 and £8,000 in gift vouchers.
Mr Browne: "Are you saying that it is possible, with the combination between what Mr Hamilton got through Ian Greer and the cash he got from you, that he got between £90,000 and £110,000?"
Mr Al Fayed: "It is possible, yes."
Mr Browne: "This total of £90,000 to £110,000 . . . has never been suggested before and forms no part whatsoever of your defence in this case . . . you are making up these allegations against Mr Hamilton as you go along."
Mr Al Fayed: "Sorry, I just say things to the best of my recollections."
Raising allegations said to have been made during the meeting with Mr Hitchen that Mr Hamilton procured "rent boys" for Mr Greer, Mr Browne said: "I suggest that this was another venomous invention of your fertile mind which would stop at nothing to blackguard Mr Hamilton's good name."
Mr Browne said that Michael Howard had earned Mr Al Fayed's "undying enmity" for appointing DTI inspectors who wrote a highly critical report of his purchase of Harrods in 1985.
Mr Browne: "Your suggestion is, and I contend that it is utterly baseless, that he had been bribed by Tiny Rowland to do so."
Mr Al Fayed: "Why are you so sure it was baseless? I am the person who knows exactly how it happened - £1 million and £ million."
He made a number of references to Jonathan Aitken, the jailed former Tory Minister, and Lord Archer of Weston- super-Mare, before being warned by the judge that those matters were not being dealt with in the court.
Mr Al Fayed denies libel and pleads justification.
The case continues.


This Site Served by TheHostPros