Mohamed Al-Fayed is an Egyptian businessman. He owns the Harrods department store in London and the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.
Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed, better known as Mohamed Al-Fayed, was born on January 27, 1933 in Alexandria, Egypt.
He was the son of a teacher. As a youth he worked in various jobs. In 1954 he married Samira Kashoggi, sister of the Saudi Arabian magnate, Adnan Kashoggi. The couple had a son, Dodi. The marriage only lasted 4 years, but it gave Al-Fayed the opportunity to secure contacts with influential figures in the financial world. He founded his first company: Genavco [General Navigation Company], a cruise company active in the Mediterranean and Red seas. In the 1960s, thanks to his friendship with the Emir of Dubai, Sheik Rashid Al Maktoum, Al-Fayed oversaw the construction of much of the city’s infrastructure.
A few years later, he founded IMS [International Marine Service] in the Arab Emirates. He was also an adviser to one of the world’s richest men, the Sultan of Brunei. In the 1970s he moved to London, where he would remain. In 1979, he bought the historic Hôtel Ritz in Paris, spending 6 years and over 130 million dollars renovating the building. The investment would prove worthwhile, and the Ritz was reestablished as one of Europe’s most prestigious hotels. In 1985 be bought House of Fraser, a British department store group, which also included Harrods, London’s historic department store. The same year he married Heini Wathén, with whom he had 4 children.,From the end of the 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s he was involved in court cases. Al-Fayed admitted to having corrupted various British politicians in order to obtain purchasing rights for House of Fraser. Two ministers resigned as a result of his declarations. In 1994, House of Fraser was nationalized, but Harrods remained in Al-Fayed’s hands.
In 1997 he purchased Fulham, a London soccer team. Thanks to enormous investments, in just 4 seasons the team was able to work its way up out of the Second Division and into the Premier League, England’s top soccer league.
On August 30, 1997 his son from his first marriage, Dodi, and Princess Diana Spencer died in a car accident. Al-Fayed fought to prove that the two were victims of a plot created by the British royal family, who disapproved of their relationship. But police investigations confirmed that the crash was simply a tragic accident. Today Al-Fayed possesses an immense fortune, but the exact nature of his personal wealth is unknown. Although he has lived in England for over 30 years, Al-Fayed has never gotten English citizenship.