Welcome to my Biography
Mohamed was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on January 27th 1929. His family originated from Fayed city, but moved to Alexandria where his father worked as a professor of Arabic, and his grandfather as a merchant. It was at his knee that Mohamed learned the first rules of becoming a successful businessman.
Family values were important to Mohamed, whose own family life was happy and loving. He enjoyed a good relationship with his mother, and remains close to his younger brother, Ali. Both Mohamed and Ali remained close to their other brother Saleh, until his death in 2010.
Whilst attending a British-run Alexandrian school (Egypt, although never legally colonised, was administered by the British for more than 70 years) Mohamed’s entrepreneurial gift began to take shape: during break times he was found selling his popular homemade lemonade to his schoolmates.
1955 to present day
Love and Marriage
Mohamed fell in love and married when he was quite young. The couple had a son, Dodi, but divorced soon after he was born, leaving Mohamed to raise him on his own.
Mohamed married his second wife, former Finnish model Heini Wathen, in 1985. They have four children: Jasmine, Karim, Camilla and Omar, all of whom are now grown up with their own careers. He is now the proud grandfather of three lovable granddaughters.
1955 – 1968
Making the Most of an Opportunity
Mohamed’s first real business opportunity came when he and his brothers set up shipping company Genavco (The General Navigation Company). Operating in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, Genavco owned roll-on, roll-off ferries, and was a big success. But, in the late 1950s, President Gamal Abdel Nasser “nationalised” all substantial private companies, essentially wresting control of Genavco from the Fayeds, and thereby ending Mohamed’s dream of continuing to work in Egypt.
Disappointed, but undeterred from succeeding, Mohamed and his brothers moved to England, taking up residence in London’s Park Lane. In 1966 the Fayeds re-established Genavco’s headquarters in Genoa, Italy, and opened additional offices in London.
Putting Dubai on the Map
Mohamed’s fleet of Genavco ships frequently traded between Alexandria and Dubai, and in the mid 1960s Mohamed travelled to there to meet with its ruler, Sheikh Rashid al Maktoum. Then it was little more than a backwater in the Gulf; but the Sheikh had plans for Dubai and wanted Mohamed to be a major part of them.
When they met, Mohamed asked the Sheikh why, with so many boats trading in the Gulf and sailing right past Dubai, he did not build a harbour which would allow Dubai to offer bunkering and other such services to the ships and their crews. At the time, ships had to be loaded and unloaded off-shore with the use of derricks and lighters. Sheikh Rashid invited Mohamed to gather the resources needed to build Dubai's first significant piece of modern infrastructure, replacing its silted-up creek with Dubai’s first four-berth harbour. After the pair had shaken hands Mohamed returned to London to raise capital and support for the venture.
For an Egyptian, it was a dream come true; Mohamed was making history. The project marked the dawn of a new age, one that would see the Sheikh and Mohamed mastermind Dubai’s transformation into the business epicentre of the Middle East and become lifelong friends.
When the harbour was complete, the Sheikh asked Mohamed to help him find a company to search for oil, something most large companies did not want to do. Mohamed agreed and returned to London to make arrangements. He researched the project thoroughly and flew experts from a leading technology firm out to Dubai to set to work. Some 300,000 barrels of oil were found. The Sheikh was delighted. He couldn’t believe the incredible luck Mohamed had brought to him, and charged him with revolutionising Dubai. He wanted a larger, 45-berth harbour, a state of the art dry dock, landmark skyscrapers (including the World Trade Centre), a five star Hilton hotel, an aluminium smelter, highways and roads, a general hospital and an international airport. Mohamed had never been one to do things by halves and was committed to fulfilling the Sheikh’s vision for Dubai; so much so that he flew to London to purchase a 30 percent stake in Richard Costain (the British construction company he had entrusted with the majority of work) to ensure it fulfilled its promises to the Emirate. It did. The architectural overhaul of Dubai was vast; construction took almost a decade to complete and laid the foundations for the phenomenal growth Dubai enjoys today.
Bringing a Boost to the British Economy
Mohamed’s efforts in Dubai were a significant boon for the British economy and marked the first of over 40 years of Mohamed’s contribution to the British economy. He insisted on using British companies and workers for the projects, and consequently introduced British financiers and construction companies, including Richard Costain, Bernard Sunley and Taylor Woodrow, to Dubai. As a direct result of Mohamed’s industry and enterprise, Britain earned £8 billion at a time when the UK economy was struggling. Despite this, the government refused to publicly recognise his contributions, something they have continued to do throughout his life.
International Marine Services
1968 was the year that Mohamed established International Marine Services (IMS), which carried out salvage, towing and servicing work for the fleets of oil tankers trading in Dubai’s waters. IMS became one of the world’s leading companies in this specialised field, and at one time had vessels operating as far as Singapore.
Mohamed had dreamt of learning more about Scotland ever since he was taught of its connection with Egypt at primary school. His history teacher told him that it had been discovered by an Egyptian Pharaoh, who had a daughter called Scota. Following a fight with her father, Princess Scota took her ships and army and sailed for Europe. She died in a battle against the Irish, but had told her two sons that the land to the north was theirs. They named the country Scotland in her honour and settled there, taking the Stone of Destiny with them.
During a visit to the highlands, Mohamed passed a run-down castle and stopped his car to enquire about it. Its name was Balnagown, it was the ancestral seat of the Chieftains of Clan Ross but had fallen into disrepair following the death of the last laird and was for sale, complete with its contents and some 40 acres. Mohamed said he would pay the asking price of £60,000, and a week later it was his.
Balnagown Castle was rich in history, and its rooms and attic were packed with fascinating artworks, tapestries and furnishings. Mohamed invested millions of pounds restoring the Castle and its surrounding estate, employing experts to conserve the building and its unique atmosphere, taking particular care to ensure every detail was historically accurate. During the restoration process some interesting artefacts were uncovered, including the chair said to be that of Scotland’s greatest hero, Sir William Wallace (pictured), later memorably portrayed by Mel Gibson, in the Hollywood blockbuster Braveheart.
Lavish care and attention wasn't confined to the Castle. Mohamed set about buying back the lands that had once belonged to the Castle but which had been sold over the years by different generations of Clan Ross. In doing so, he increased the size of the estate to 65,000 acres. Outbuildings dotted across Balnagown's estates were converted into five-star self-catering holiday cottages, and traditional highland pursuits were made available to guests and members of the public. In addition, Mohamed’s conservation efforts led to an increase in wildlife on the estate; ospreys returned because there was no longer a regular shooting across the highland acres; the red kite was reintroduced, and there have even been sightings of the rare golden eagle, which at one time could be regularly seen wheeling around the Castle’s sandstone towers.
The rejuvenation of Balnagown Estates was officially completed in 1995, and in 2002, Mohamed’s efforts were recognised by the Highlands of Scotland Tourist Board when they presented him with the Freedom of the Highlands Award.
Today, Mohamed and his family use Balnagown Castle as their Scottish retreat, his Finnish wife feeling very much at home in the clean air of the true highlands. The estates' holiday cottages and outdoor activities have become popular amongst families and those seeking some rural tranquillity.
Mohamed had made a name for himself in business, and business mogul, RW “Tiny” Rowland was keen to get his expertise on the board of his own company, Lonrho. He persuaded Mohamed to swap his shares in the British construction company Richard Costain, with that of Lonrho, but once he did, Mohamed realised that Tiny ran his company “like a bordello” and treated his directors like Christmas tree decorations. Mohamed recalls his horror: “I could not get out fast enough. I lost half a million pounds getting out of Lonrho, but it was the best money I ever spent.” This was not to be Mohamed’s last encounter with Tiny.
Taking on the Ritz
When Mohamed travelled to Europe as a child, he visited both Harrods and L’Hotel Ritz, in Paris, and quietly vowed to himself that he would one day own them both. In 1979, this self-made promise began to take shape when he learnt that the legendary Parisian hotel was for sale. He made an offer on it, which was accepted.
The heyday splendour of L’Hotel Ritz had long begun to fade, and needed reviving. Mohamed decided to personally oversee the hotel’s renovation, and employed countless experts and hoteliers to research its history and restore its magical magnificence, both in terms of its aesthetic and its service standards. He spent the equivalent of US$1 million per “key”, ie. suite or room in the process. The result was impressive, and the French government was so grateful to Mohamed for restoring the legendary hotel, President Mitterrand presented him with the Medaille de Paris and later made him a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Today, L’Hotel Ritz consistently reports higher rates of occupancy than any other of the 5-star hotels in Paris.
Assistance for the Thatcher Government
In 1984, Margaret Thatcher’s government were seriously concerned about the dangerously low value of the Pound Sterling on the foreign exchange markets. It was so low that the Sultan of Brunei, then considered the world’s richest man, was considering moving his huge financial assets out of sterling and into dollars, a move that would have been disastrous for the UK pound. Knowing that Mohamed was a friend of the Sultan, Mrs Thatcher’s Chief-of-Staff, Charles Powell, came to Mohamed and pleaded with him to intervene on behalf of Mrs. Thatcher to persuade the Sultan to keep his billions in London, where they were invested by the Crown Agents, part of the government apparatus.
Mohamed said he would try. He not only tried, he succeeded. The Sultan cancelled the transfer of funds to Citibank in New York and thus, a Sterling crisis was averted. Mrs. Thatcher was so grateful to Mohamed that she invited him to dinner at No.10 Downing Street, virtually kissing his hand, and placing him at her table next to her daughter, Carol Thatcher.
The Thatcher government later asked further favours of him and Mohamed always delivered, just as years earlier, in the Gulf, he had made sure that British construction companies and banks were the major beneficiaries of the massive contracts that were available during the first building boom in Dubai.
David Douglas Home, then chairman of a leading merchant bank, put on record the tremendous debt that Britain owed to Mohamed in generating billions of pounds worth of business for British companies at a time when the British domestic economy was experiencing severe difficulties. It is not going too far to say that at times during the 1970s it was only export earnings that kept Britain’s economy afloat; much of that profit was earned in the Gulf and in particular in Dubai.
Mohamed, Tiny Rowland and House of Fraser Group
In November 1984, Mohamed and his brothers acquired a 30 percent stake in House of Fraser (which included Harrods) by purchasing shares at £2.50 each at the specific invitation of business magnate Tiny Rowland, someone Mohamed had encountered ten years prior when he was on the board of Tiny’s company, Lonrho. In March 1985, the Fayeds made an offer for the remaining 70 percent. The shareholders had expected an offer from Tiny, but since none came, they accepted the Fayeds’ proposal of £4 a share.
Tiny was furious that his dream of buying House of Fraser back had failed, and embarked on a very public vendetta against Mohamed, using every medium he could, including The Observer newspaper, which he owned, to defame Mohamed on a weekly basis. The attacks were bitter, relentless and unjustified. In 1987, Tiny used The Observer to run a series of exposes on Mark Thatcher, son of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was pocketing millions of pounds in commission on arms deals. Tiny’s aim was to bully Mrs Thatcher into setting up an enquiry into the Fayeds’ acquisition of House of Fraser Group. He succeeded, although it did him no good. No action was taken as a result of the investigation. As Mohamed said, “I paid in cash, in full, and on time. The shareholders went on their way rejoicing. Only Tiny was distressed. He gave me House of Fraser on a golden tray and could never accept his mistake.”
In 1992, Tiny threw in the towel. He came to Mohamed and Ali and agreed to end his vendetta. To signify peace, Mohamed and Tiny lowered the stuffed shark that hovered above the fish counter in Harrods’ Food Halls, and had the word ‘Tiny’ painted on its dorsal fin. As they toasted peace in champagne that day, Tiny told Mohamed that he had spent £40 million of his own money on the vendetta against Mohamed. But, of course, it wasn’t Tiny’s money, it was the money of the shareholders in his company, Lonrho.
Although Mohamed was ultimately victorious, he will always regret the day he met Tiny. As a former leading member of the Hitler Youth, Tiny was slavish in his devotion to one of the most evil men of the 20th century, coming himself only a few rungs down that ladder of venality. Mohamed wasn’t the only one who disliked Tiny; Tory Prime Minister Edward Heath once rightly described him as the “unattractive and unacceptable face of capitalism”.
1985 – 2010
Harrods – the creation of a legend
Throughout the seven-year wrangling, Mohamed did his best to ignore Tiny. He had more important things to do. House of Fraser employed 30,000 people and was badly in need of capital investment, which Mohamed provided. He also hired leading retailers to take charge and ensured that everyone kept their jobs. Without Mohamed’s efforts, House of Fraser would not enjoy the success it does today.
Mohamed had also begun to restore Harrods to the condition he envisioned for the world’s most celebrated store. He invested more than £400 million and during the first quarter century of his ownership, he liberated areas used for storage and offices to give shoppers two additional floors of luxury shopping space. Mohamed also commissioned the inspired architect Bill Mitchell, to create some breathtaking installations including the Egyptian Hall, and the Egyptian Escalator, which tells the story of the Valley of the Kings. So exquisitely detailed and authentic was the Egyptian escalator’s aesthetic, English Heritage has included it in its list of the building’s architectural highlights. At the top of the escalator, carved in marble, is the image of Mohamed, Pharaoh of Harrods, his own Egyptian pyramid.
Over the years, every one of Harrods 140 "rooms" has been reinvented, some more than once. This investment in the store has restored Harrods to the pinnacle of world retailing, encouraging would-be competitors to improve their offer, and thereby raising the quality of the customers’ shopping experience. Mohamed welcomed competition, saying it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, and even though the retail competition around the world is fierce, impartial commentators agree that there is nothing to equal Harrods. It may not be the biggest store in the world - that's not the point - but it is undoubtedly the best.
Harrods employed some 5,000 staff, and Mohamed oversaw its running for 25 years. In 2010, however, Mohamed decided to retire from Harrods to spend more time with his children and grandchildren. He sold Harrods and was appointed Honorary Chairman by the new owners.
The Villa Windsor
In recognition of his meticulous restoration work at L’Hotel Ritz, the Mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac asked Mohamed if he would like to take on the lease of the Villa Windsor, the former home of the exiled former King of England - Edward VIII - and his wife, Wallace Simpson. Aware of the couple’s great love-story, able to empathise with their vilification at the hands of the British Establishment, and spellbound by the Villa itself, Mohamed agreed, and took a 50-year lease on the Villa for a nominal fee. So began his third major restoration project.
Paying the same attention to detail that he had with Balnagown and L’Hotel Ritz, Mohamed instructed the original furnishers of the house to return it to its former opulent splendour and called in specialists to catalogue their possessions. It took years to complete but created a fascinating historical record of a previous age including a vast collection of the couple’s private photographs which their staff had kept safe in a bath, disguised as a work surface.
When the work was finished, Mohamed sent a complete edition to the Royal Archives at Windsor. Historians will be indebted to him for this act of thoughtfulness, though there were perhaps some in the Royal Family at the time who might have been none too eager to have any reminders of the abdication and the greatest constitutional crisis of the 20th century, when the House of Windsor rocked on its pedestal.
HRH Prince Charles was curious to see the results, and visited the Villa at Mohamed’s invitation. Mohamed told him he could choose any possession of his great uncle that he wished to have. The Prince chose a petit point cushion displaying the Prince of Wales feathers and motto "Ich Dien". The petit point had been worked by the Duke of Windsor who had learnt how to embroider whilst away at sea serving as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. Many men, particularly sailors whiling away time at sea, were masters of the craft. Mohamed also returned to the Royal Collection a very valuable 17th century portrait of a royal child that had the centrepiece of the salon that linked the bedroom suites of the Duke and Duchess. The Duke took the portrait with him when he abdicated in 1936 and was very fond of it. Mohamed gave it to the Queen during a state visit to France in the 1990s and the portrait now hangs as part of the Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace. In return, he received a letter of thanks.
The Villa Windsor formally re-opened in 1989 and Mayor Chirac presented Mohamed with the rare Grande Plaque de Paris, bestowed to only 15 others since its institution for his combined achievements at the Villa Windsor, his continued work at L’Hotel Ritz, and his humanitarian action supporting the Georges Pompidou Foundation. In 1993, the French government also promoted Mohamed to an Officier in the Legion d’Honneur.
Feeling he had done all he could at the Villa, and believing that the most important aspect of the work was complete (the creation of a comprehensive record of the lives of Duke and Duchess), Mohamed took a difficult decision, and in February 1998, auctioned part of the contents at Sotheby’s in New York. It was the biggest auction of the year. The entire proceeds were devoted to charitable causes.
Al Fayed Charitable Foundation
Family life has always been important to Mohamed, and the value he places on a good childhood cannot be underestimated. This is one of the reasons that he decided to found the Al Fayed Charitable Foundation, which helps children afflicted with life-threatening illnesses or living in poverty, to have a better quality of life.
Since the Foundation was established in 1987, Mohamed has supported British baby and children’s hospices, which receive little government funding and rely almost entirely on donations; orphanages in South East Asia; UK schools, including the New School at West Heath, which provides expert tuition to traumatised children; and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where his son, Karim, was treated for meningitis as a baby.
Mohamed became the largest individual donor to Great Ormond Street when he purchased and donated an £8 million MRI scanner, an essential piece of equipment that would reduce the pain and discomfort children experienced during diagnosis but that the hospital could not afford. Mohamed later paid for the scanner to be up-dated, still marvelling that in a country where MPs manipulate their expenses and allowances to steal public money, there are not enough taxes to pay for a machine to treat sick children.
Mohamed’s charitable work is rarely reported in the press, but the causes that benefit from his donations recognise the difference he has made, and continues to make. Step into his office and you will find his walls lined with awards and certificates thanking him for his support, and his in-tray full of letters from the causes and people his donations and Foundation have directly helped.
Cash for Questions
Mohamed and his brothers decided to float House of Fraser Group on the London Stock Exchange in 1994, retaining Harrods, and its subsidiary companies (including Harrods Aviation, Harrods Bank, and Harrods Estates) as an independent, family-run business.
Feeling settled and content at Harrods, Mohamed felt it was time to address other issues. Travelling overseas on an Egyptian passport had now become difficult and it was suggested that Mohamed apply for a British passport. This idea made sense; his four British-born children held UK passports and most of his commercial interests were concentrated in the country. Mohamed made enquiries and was told it would be simple, yet 13 months later he received a short letter refusing his application. There was no explanation, but it is likely that the ‘Cash for Questions’ episode (which occurred between his application and issue of the refusal) had much to do with it.
During the feud between Tiny Rowland and Mohamed over the House of Fraser Group, Tiny had employed MPs to attack Mohamed’s character in Parliament. In retaliation, Mohamed had hired his own team of MPs to hit out at Tiny and his dubious business practices. It is not illegal, or improper to pay MPs to lobby or present issues in Parliament, but MPs must declare the payments in the register of members’ interests. Some of the MPs Mohamed employed, including Neil Hamilton, failed to declare their fees.
By 1994, Mohamed had become disillusioned with the country’s politics and the way in which behind-the-scenes powers controlled the country and decided it was time to expose the politicians that had attacked the good name of both himself and his family. Unable to clear his name in a court of law, Mohamed appealed to the court of Public Opinion by revealing precisely how hypocritical and venal the politicians were who had thrown him to the wolves for their own political convenience. The Guardian newspaper ran stories based upon Mohamed’s revelations, and the ensuing storm resulted in the resignation and sacking of ministers in John Major’s government. One of them, Jonathan Aitken, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, was revealed to be consorting with Saudi arms dealers.
Mohamed’s fearless revelations of corruption at the heart of the Major government became known as the “Cash for Questions” affair and led to a change in the British Constitution: a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards was established with the intention of preventing such deep-rooted political corruption happening again.
Mohamed had simply told the truth, but it angered many Tory politicians and Mohamed had to pay a personal price. Despite the many economic, architectural and philanthropic contributions had made to the UK, Mohamed’s passport application was rejected. He has never re-applied and remains happy to be an Egyptian. But the injustice of what was done has not gone unnoticed. Many thousands of people have written to him, expressing their wish that he be granted a British passport. And even the man who turned down the application has come to see the error of his decision.
Mohamed is quite sanguine about the matter, however: “The politicians who have denied me a passport have no honour or dignity but that has not decreased my love of this country and the ordinary people who are ruled but such a disgraceful gang.
New Labour and Tony Blair would never have come to power if I had not made the revelations about the corruption at the heart of the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.
Of course, the Conservative newspapers attacked me but what I revealed in 1994 was just the tip of a very nasty iceberg. Look at what has come out since, the wholesale corruption of parliament. Because I was first to tell the British people the truth, I was attacked by the very same newspapers that now win awards for their revelations. It’s almost funny.
"But I don’t care. I am proud to be an Egyptian, the oldest civilisation in the world. While the inhabitants of the British Isles were painting their faces blue and running around in animal skins, the Egyptians were building the pyramids, developing mathematics and studying the heavens. I am honoured to be a son of the oldest civilisation in the world."
In 1996, Mohamed spotted a gap in the aviation industry, and launched Air Harrods, a luxury helicopter chartering service.
January 1997 - July 2013
One of Mohamed’s favourite childhood pastimes was football. He had played regularly on the beaches of Alexandria, and had always been a keen follower of English football. In 1997, Mohamed learned that Second Division team, Fulham Football Club (FFC), was for sale, saw its potential, and bought it. He promised the fans that within five years FFC, would be playing in the Premiership.
Mohamed poured money into the Club’s grounds, players and management, instructing Kevin Keegan to take over as Club manager. As a result, Fulham was transformed. Within three years, the Club had enjoyed two league championship wins and promotion to the Premiership. To Fulham fans, Mohamed was, quite simply, a hero. He rescued the Club, and unlike many Premiership Clubs, made sure it lost none of its family-friendly charm. He subsidised away travel for the fans, cut prices to some of the lowest in the premiership and made sure the Club played its part in the local community.
In July 2013, after 16 years as Chairman of Fulham FC , Mohamed felt the time was right to retire, and passed his Club on to Shahid Khan. Mohamed had taken the Club from the third tier to the top flight and into Europe, paid off the Club's debts, and was loved by Fulham fans. He said his tenure at Fulham had been a pleasure and a privilege.
Dodi and Diana
On 31st August 1997, whilst holidaying in France, Mohamed’s eldest son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales, were killed in a car crash. Mohamed was distraught and knew at once that they had been murdered - it mirrored concerns Diana had expressed to Mohamed. Two years earlier, when she was still married, she had met her lawyer Lord Mishcon and told him that her husband was planning to kill her in a staged car crash.
Princess Diana had been a loyal customer of Harrods, and Mohamed had known her personally for many years. He understood her to have led a troubled life, dictated by the Royal Family who refused to let her see happiness. She fell in love with Dodi in 1997 and wanted to marry him. Mohamed believed that The Royal Family would not accept the idea that the future King of England’s mother would be married to a naturally tanned Egyptian of a different religion.
When Dodi and Diana died, Lord Mishcon took his note of what Diana had said predicting her death in a staged car crash to Scotland Yard where he saw the Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon. Rather than pass it to the French authorities or the British coroner, Sir Paul buried the note and it did not surface again for seven years.
An inquest is compulsory for any UK national who dies abroad in such circumstances. This case should have been no different, but for ten years, Mohamed battled (funded by himself) to force inquests into the deaths of Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales. Had it not been for his efforts it is doubtful if the inquests would have ever taken place. The ruling class (The Establishment) did not want the real details of the crash to be made public, but as a father who had lost his son, Mohamed was determined to get justice.
In 2007 the inquests were ordered, but unsurprisingly a new set of problems arose, this time with the coroners. The first coroner for the royal household died; his successor then stepped down. Another coroner was appointed but she too stepped down before the inquests could even begin. That coroner, Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss had wanted to hold the inquests without a jury with herself judging everything. Mohamed refused to accept this and had to go to the Court of Appeal to get her decision overturned. The Court of Appeal said her decision was unlawful. A jury of 11 ordinary men and women was eventually sworn in and the inquests were heard by an Establishment figure, a retired high court judge. Earlier it had been suggested that a jury made up of the Royal Household should hear the case but even the British Establishment realised this would make British Justice a laughing stock.
In October 2007 the inquests opened at London’s Royal Courts of Justice. They were almost as much as a charade as the Establishment’s desperate attempts to prevent the matter ever coming to court. Key witnesses in France and the UK were not pressed to give evidence, and others (one of whom was exposed by a tabloid newspaper), lied in court. The Establishment and its lackeys in the press had always maintained that the deaths were an accident, and the jury were ordered directly by the coroner not to bring in a verdict of murder. They returned a verdict the next step down from murder, 'unlawful killing' stating that the crash had been caused by the speed and manner-of-driving of the pursuing paparazzi and unidentified vehicles (two cars and a motorcycle) which the authorities were unable to trace and whose role in the tragedy has still to be satisfactorily explained.
Following this verdict, no-one can ever say that the crash was simply an accident, nor that the relationship between Dodi and Diana was not serious. Mohamed will never give up trying to discover what really happened:
"I am leaving it to God,” he says, “who will look after me and see that the Royal family get their comeuppance for what they have done to my son, to Diana, to my family and to me."
Falls of Shin, Scotland
Just a short distance from Mohamed’s Scottish home, Balnagown, lies the beautiful Falls of Shin, home to dramatic waterfalls, lush green forests, and a natural Atlantic salmon leap. In 1998, Mohamed discovered it was for sale, saw its potential and purchased it. Within a short time he had opened a visitors’ centre and shop, which was awarded four stars for its excellence by the Scottish Tourist Board. His investment into the Falls of Shin has transformed it into a popular tourist attraction, and boosted the local economy by driving much business into the area.
2006 to date
Mohamed's fantastic business and charitable spirit continues to sparkle, and in 2011 the international federation of cinema, television and sports awarded him with the Excellence Guirlande d'Honneur for his contribution to sport, cinema and enterprise. 2011 was also the year that marked Mohamed's return to retail, with his purchase of the luxury online etailer, Cocosa.
When he’s not working he is visiting hospices and providing key goods like books, medical equipment, and more, to those that really need it. His precious remaining time is spent in the company of his beloved family. And, when he seeks solitude, he can be found in a tent outside his Scottish family residence, a place where he can sit and muse about life and all the wonder it has to hold.