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Al Fayed still sees possible Diana conspiracy

/ Source: The Associated Press

Mohamed Al Fayed still believes British secret agents might have been involved in the death of his son and Princess Diana, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.

A coroner’s jury decided Monday that Diana and Dodi Fayed were unlawfully killed due to reckless speed and drinking by their driver, and by the reckless pursuit of vehicles chasing them — not as part of a murder conspiracy.

Photographers were chasing the couple in cars and on motorbikes but Katherine Witty, a spokesman for Al Fayed, contends that two of the pursuing vehicles have not been identified.

“It is possible that MI6 were involved. We are saying that it’s possible,” Witty said in an interview with British Broadcasting Corp. television.

“But whether as far as you are concerned and the general public are concerned we can do anything about that remains to be seen,” she said.

The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, had told the jury that Al Fayed and his legal team had not produced any evidence that the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, was involved in the fatal car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.

Princes endorse verdict
Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry, endorsed the jury’s verdict.

“We agree with their verdicts, and are both hugely grateful to each and every one of them for the forbearance they have shown in accepting such significant disruption to their lives over the past six months,” the princes said in a statement issued Monday.

Al Fayed had claimed that MI6 agents were taking orders from Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II.

When he testified under oath, Al Fayed said he would accept the jury’s verdict.

But Michael Cole, another spokesman for Al Fayed, complained in an interview with GMTV that the jury had not been allowed to hear evidence from Philip and the queen.

“When he (Al Fayed) made that declaration, it was on the assumption that the jury would be allowed to hear everything. They weren’t,” Cole said.

“He had no way of knowing that so many key French witnesses would refuse to come forward,” Cole said, apparently referring to the lack of testimony from most of the paparazzi and from two French experts who conducted tests on the blood of the couple’s driver, Henri Paul.

Paul was acting head of security at the Ritz Hotel, owned by Al Fayed.

Asked whether Al Fayed felt any responsibility for Paul’s drinking on the job, Witty replied: “It was a tragedy what happened to Henri Paul. Henri Paul was an employee of the Ritz, which is not the same as saying an employee of Mohamed.”

Claims dismissed
In his summation, Baker categorically dismissed claims of MI6 involvement.

“There is no evidence that the duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) ordered Diana’s execution and there is no evidence that the Secret Intelligence Service or any other government agency organized it,” Baker said.

In his testimony, Al Fayed had called Philip a Nazi and accused a large number of people of being involved in a murder plot and cover up — including Paul; the couple’s bodyguards, who were employees of Al Fayed; then-Prime Minister Tony Blair; Diana’s sister and a brother-in-law; the British ambassador to Paris; the French medical service; two French toxicologists; French and British police; and the intelligence agencies of Britain, France and the United States.