Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepgaelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
World 
UK 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


The BBC's Jon Brain
"Mr al-Fayed said it was unbelievable he was being asked such questions"
 real 28k

Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 23:51 GMT
Al-Fayed's fury over cash withdrawal questions
Mohamed al-Fayed Mohamed al-Fayed: Neil Hamilton asked for payments

Questions over how Mohamed al-Fayed used huge amounts of cash withdrawn from his bank every week have prompted a furious response from the Harrods boss.

Libel Trial
Mr al-Fayed told former MP Neil Hamilton's barrister it was "none of his bloody business" what he did with the withdrawals of up to 120,000.

The outburst came as he was cross-examined for a fifth day by Desmond Browne QC in Mr Hamilton's High Court libel action against him.

Mr Hamilton is suing Mr al-Fayed over a Channel 4 Dispatches programme in January 1997 in which the Harrods owner claimed the former Tatton MP had demanded and accepted cash payments, gift vouchers and a free holiday at the Paris Ritz, in return for asking parliamentary questions.

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


I suggest you used these enormous sums to lubricate your way through business
Desmond Browne QC
Mr Browne said Mr al-Fayed habitually withdrew cash at a maximum per week of 120,000 and a minimum of 60,000, and that on occasion sums of up to 75,000 were drawn in cash.

Mr al-Fayed said: "And this is your business? It is my business. You have bank statements. What is the question?"

Mr Browne said: "I suggest you used these enormous sums to lubricate your way through business, finding a way of easing your relations with other people by paying them sums of cash which you know they will not be accounting for, for tax."

Mr al-Fayed said this was "absolute rubbish", adding: "You have nothing to defend your client except attacking me unfairly, unlogically because you don't understand what type of person I am, what culture I come from, what commitments I have, how many people I employ ..."

Neil Hamilton, pictured with wife Christine, denies asking for cash Neil Hamilton, pictured with wife Christine, denies asking for cash
Mr Browne went on: "Are you saying that you distribute this cash largesse of over 100,000 a week among your employees, because, as I understand it, you told us that you do not pay cash to your employees to top up their wages?"

Mr al-Fayed: "You have no basis for all this rubbish. You are just trying to ridicule me. I have a lot of commitments, big family, homes everywhere. I need the cash and it's none of your business.

"My personal cash is my personal life. It's none of your bloody business. It's my business. Get on with the subject and don't waste the time of everybody."


My personal cash is my personal life. It's none of your bloody business. It's my business
Mohamed al-Fayed
Earlier, Mr al-Fayed was accused of failing to produce "a single document" which proved his allegations about Mr Hamilton.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Browne said he had finished cross-examining the Harrods owner and added: "Thank you, Mr Fayed. For me, at any rate, it's been a memorable four-and-a-half days."

Mr al-Fayed replied: "Thank-you."

The hearing was adjourned until Friday when George Carman QC, for Mr al-Fayed, will re-examine his client.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

See also:
24 Nov 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed 'persecuted Harrods staff'
23 Nov 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed 'threatened John Major'
22 Nov 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed challenges Duke to sue
24 Nov 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed accused of false shipping claims
19 Nov 99 |  UK
Al-Fayed fury over death crash remarks
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories