Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Tuesday, 21 December, 1999, 19:31 GMT
Fayed's faith in British justice restored

Mohamed al-Fayed Mohamed al-Fayed: "My reputation has been enhanced"

Mohamed al-Fayed, the victor in the last big libel trial of the 20th century, says the verdict has restored his faith in British justice.

Libel Trial
The Harrods owner, who has had several run-ins with the British establishment, fought off a libel action by former MP Neil Hamilton who he had accused of taking cash for Parliamentary questions during the 1980s.

Mr al-Fayed said: "Eleven people have said it is very highly compelling evidence that my evidence is the truth and nothing but the truth, right?

"And the judge has accepted that...I am very grateful to him, grateful to the jury, grateful to the witnesses and I am very, very satisfied.

"This is all what you believe and I believe in British justice."

He showed nothing but contempt for Mr Hamilton, of whom he said: "He knows he is corrupt. People like that should never be in power.

"He is nothing to me. How can we elect crooks like that?"

Mr al-Fayed compared Mr Hamilton to another disgraced Tory, former minister Jonathan Aitken, and said: "I think the right places has to be prison like Jonathan Aitken, it is again another guy who carried the a 'sword of truth and the shield of justice.'"

No sympathy for the Hamiltons
He told Sky News: "People like that bring these things to themselves."

Mr al-Fayed accused Mr Hamilton of wasting everybody's time with the libel action.

He said: "He has already been condemned by his members of parliament, by the standards and privileges committee, by Sir Gordon Downey who said there was compelling evidence that he was corrupt.

"I had to take five weeks, as you know I have thousands of people to look after and I am a major taxpayer. Someone like that, he has nothing, just challenges and wastes the time of everybody."

He said he felt vindicated by the verdict but bridled when questioned about the allegation in court - by his former bodyguard - that he was "the biggest crook in town".

Mr al-Fayed responded: "Somebody innocent like me who is trying to help the ordinary people of this country to flush the crooked politician who is just using power to enrich themselves - of course he has to reflect and insult me and say stuff like that and you can't defend that yourself."

He said he had not realised at the time that payments to MPs amounted to corruption.

Asked if his own reputation had taken a battering during the hearing, he said: "My reputation has been enhanced because I don't care about crooked people who just insult me."

'Dignity and honour'

Mr Al Fayed said, if he had to, he would go through the ordeal again.

"If you are challenged - I did not bring it on myself, it was brought on me - then you have to stand for your dignity, stand for your honour, stand for your reputation and show the people who is right and who is wrong.

"It is a duty. It is my conscience, it is the only way, it is my conscience to flush corrupt people like that who creep to power and rule such a great people and a great country."

Mr al-Fayed said he would be "very proud" to be remembered as a man who helped to clean up British politics.

Asked how he would he celebrating his victory, Mr al-Fayed would only add: "I am content, I am happy and thanks, God, for what I have already achieved tonight."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
21 Dec 99 |  UK
Hamilton loses libel case
21 Dec 99 |  UK
Profile: Mohamed al-Fayed
21 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Profile: Neil Hamilton
21 Dec 99 |  UK
George Carman: King of the court
21 Dec 99 |  UK
Desmond Browne QC: A cutting 'silk'

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories