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Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Al-Fayed loses passport appeal
Mohamed al-Fayed
Mohamed al-Fayed says refusal of passport is unfair
Harrods boss Mohamed al-Fayed has failed in his latest court battle for a British passport.

The Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday that Home Secretary Jack Straw was not being unreasonable when he decided Mr al-Fayed had a "general defect in his character" and refused him UK citizenship.

Mr al-Fayed had argued that Mr Straw had been biased when he refused him a passport in May last year and said that his decision should be quashed.

Home secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw: Not the first home secretary to refuse Mr al-Fayed a passport

But his appeal was dismissed by Lord Justices Nourse, Kennedy and Rix and he was also refused permission to take his case to the House of Lords.

Giving his judgement, Mr Nourse said the evidence had failed to prove that Mr Straw had prejudged Mr al-Fayed's application.

Mr Straw had based his view on two events.

Firstly, Mr al-Fayed's admitted presence when a safe deposit box belonging to a business rival, Tiny Rowland was opened.

Secondly, his payment of money to MPs to ask questions on his behalf in the House of Commons.


Mr Nourse said in Mr Straw's view the deposit box break-in had constituted more than a minor blemish on the character of the Harrod's boss.

"It 'illustrated' a serious want of probity on his part; in other words, that it was indicative of a general defect in his character," he said.

"In my judgement it is plain that that was a view which could reasonably be taken in the circumstances and, once taken, that in itself was enough to justify the home secretary's inability to be satisfied that Mr al-Fayed was of good character."

Michael Beloff QC, representing Mr al-Fayed, had told the court that Mr Straw did not treat his client's application for citizenship "with an open mind".


Mr al-Fayed, 66, was first refused citizenship by then Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1995.

He lost the last round of his battle with Mr Straw last October, when a High Court judge declared that the home secretary did not act unfairly or with bias in deciding not to grant him a UK passport.

Mr al-Fayed's four children are all UK citizens and his brother, Ali, has been granted naturalisation.

His business interests include the world-famous London store and Fulham Football Club, in which he has invested millions of pounds in the hope of getting the west London club into the English Premiership.

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See also:

19 Oct 99 | UK Politics
Harrods boss begins passport challenge
21 Dec 99 | UK
Profile: Mohamed al-Fayed
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