Mohamed Al Fayed’s death aged 94 on Wednesday could spark a Succession-style battle for his £1.7billion empire between his warring children.
The self-made billionaire’s fortune will somehow need to be distributed to his four heirs from his second wife, Heini Wathen, 68,
When the former Harrods owner died he is still believed to have had an extraordinary number of multi-million-pound assets, including the Paris Ritz Hotel and a mansion near Oxted, Surrey.
Ownership of many are held through trusts and in tax havens including Bermuda, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, so it is difficult to work out exactly how many he possessed.
It is a riddle his children Jasmine, 42, Karim, 39, Camilla, 38, and Omar, 35, will need to unravel as his empire is handed out to his relatives.
But what makes matters extremely difficult is that Omar and Camila have been involved in a vicious power struggle with each other that ended up in the High Court.
It is not unlike the hit TV show Succession, which features siblings squabbling over father Logan Roy’s empire.
Omar Fayed, Karim Fayed, Heini Wathen, Mohamed Al-Fayed and Camilla Al-Fayed in 2010
Camilla al-Fayed attends “Borne To Dance”, a special charity performance in aid of Borne, at Paul Hamlyn Hall, The Royal Opera House on March 19, 2019
Karim Al-Fayed attends the 2018 amfAR gala Sao Paulo at the home of Dinho Diniz on April 13, 2018
Jasmine Al Fayed at the Julien Macdonald Fashion Show watching the catwalk back in 2002
Documents at the High Court suggest at least three of the family have been involved in a similar fracas to many of the character in the series own altercations.
Papers say in 2020’s first lockdown, Omar was using the gym at his father’s Surrey estate when he, Wathen and Camilla got into an argument.
There is said to have been a ‘physical altercation’ between Omar and Camilla’s husband, Mohamad Esreb.
An extraordinary series of claims and counter-claims in the High Court further laid bare the row at the heart of the family.
Omar was claiming £100,000 in damages for an assault he alleged was orchestrated by Camilla and her husband, Syrian businessman Esreb.
Kept in the dark: Mohamed Al Fayed, 92, pictured with Omar last month, had been shielded from the legal battle between his son and daughter
Camilla Al-Fayed dressed up at the UNICEF Halloween Ball, in London, back in October 2015
Omar in an interview with the Mail in 2021 said he had been the victim in a ‘sibling power struggle’
Karim al Fayed and Brenda Costa ‘McQueen’ film screening hosted by Karim Al Fayed
They both denied the claims and instead then tabled their own set of allegations Omar rejected.
Main amongst them were that Omar was a heavy user of illegal drugs whose louche and irresponsible behaviour is an embarrassment to the family.
In an interview with the Mail in 2021 he insisted he was not a drug user and said he was a victim of a ‘sibling power struggle’.
He said: ‘It’s quite a common drama where there are families with an elder leader figure who is in his winter period of life.
‘I’m not vying for top-dog position. I am really seeking to encourage harmony.’
The case was ordered to be settled privately by the judge, the outcome of that unknown.
And what this very public division means for the late Mr Al-fayed’s fortune’s distribution in unclear.
In terms of his assets Al Fayed was certainly at one point the owner of luxury apartments in London’s Park Lane and New York’s Manhattan.
Brenda Costa, Karim Al-Fayed and Masha Markova attend The Jasmine Ball in aid of UNICEF’s Children of Syria Emergency Appeal
: Camilla al-Fayed and Stella McCartney attend The Eternity Charity Fundraiser hosted by Lola Bute in support of Action On Addiction in 2022
When Mr Al-Fayed died he is still believed to have had an extraordinary number of multi-million-pound assets, including the Paris Ritz Hotel and a mansion near Oxted, Surrey.
The Oxted mansion has 220 acres of land, a pool, stables and gardens and is thought to be worth some £100million
Nine Rolls-Royce cars, an opulent art collection and his now infamous statue of Michael Jackson at Fulham FC were among his possessions.
But like that football club, he is thought to have jettisoned many.
The Oxted mansion has 220 acres of land, a pool, stables and gardens and is thought to be worth some £100million.
Meanwhile the Paris’s Ritz cost £10million in 1979 but is now worth at least £500million.
Al Fayed’s youngest son Omar is already a director of a company linked to his father’s Balnagown Estate in the Highlands.
The late tycoon is also known to have had luxury apartments in New York which are worth millions.
Mr Al-Fayed died on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the high speed crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, Paris, where his son Dodi, 42, and Princess Diana, 36, were killed on August 31, 1997.
Ritz security chief Henri Paul was driving the Mercedes 280S and was also found dead in the wreckage.
The former Fulham owner and chairman died after a long illness. He was buried in a chamber next to that of his son’s at the family mausoleum in Oxted, Surrey, after a Muslim funeral at the London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park on Friday.
Mohamed Al-Fayed died, aged 94, on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the high speed crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, Paris, where Dodi, 42, and Diana, 36, were killed in 1997
Dodi Al-Fayed with Diana in St Tropez in August 1997. Just over a week later the pair were dead. Mr Al-Fayed believed they were about to announce their engagement
Four continually burning candles surround the grave of Dodi. In his final years, his Egyptian father spent long hours in the shadows of the mausoleum, mourning his son.
‘I come here every day, perhaps for two or three hours and memories come back to me as I sit,’ Mr Al-Fayed once said.
‘I say prayers and think of Dodi, but I sometimes do my work here or take breakfast.’
Mr Al-Fayed wrote to a member of the public in 2005 saying ‘one day the truth will come out’ over Dodi and Diana’s deaths.
Mohamed Al Fayed pictured in Paris in 2016. He sold Harrods and Fulham FC – his largest British business interests – in 2010 and 2013 respectively
Mr Al Fayed bought Fulham FC in 1997, with his cash injection helping to send the club into the Premier League and European competitions in just a few years. He is pictured here in 2011
He wrote: ‘I will continue to fight the many injustices, which have been done to the ordinary people of this country, especially the murder of my son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales. One day the truth will come out.’
The businessman had claimed his son and Diana were murdered in a series of documentaries and blamed the Royal Family for their deaths.
At an inquest in 2008, Mr Al-Fayed took to the witness box and sensationally claimed Prince Philip and the then Prince Charles conspired to murder the princess.
Lord Justice Scott Baker attacked his theories as ‘demonstrably without foundation’ and insisted neither Philip nor MI6 were involved in her death.
A jury inquest ruled Diana and Dodi were unlawfully killed in the crash due to the ‘gross negligence’ of Mr Paul, who had been drinking. A lack of seatbelts also contributed to their deaths.
Mr Al-Fayed’s claims led to the Harrods store being stripped of its four royal warrants — the right to declare that a company supplies goods by appointment to the Royal Family.
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