Al-Fayed demands Diana phone tapes from NSA

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London, Oct 7 (UNI) Britain's business tycoon Mohamed al-Fayed has asked for the phone tapes on his conversations with late Princess Diana from the US intelligence.

In the high profile case of death of Princess Diana, opened after ten years, the lawyers for Harrods owner are to make an unprecedented demand for top secret US intelligence files on Princess Diana to be made available to the coroner conducting the inquest into her death.

The US authorities have confirmed that the files exist, but maintain they cannot be released on the grounds that this would jeopardise national security.

A US judge originally ruled the NSA should hand over the documents -- believed to be related to intercepted telephone calls -- but the decision was overturned. In total, there are some 1,034 pages of evidence that cover the period just before Diana's death.

It is known that some of the material relates to conversations Diana had with the wife of the former Brazilian ambassador to the US Lucia Flecha de Lima.

Mr Al-Fayed's lawyers insist that the material could shed important light on crucial issues such as whether Diana confided she was going to marry Mr Al-Fayed's son Dodi al-Fayed.

Ms De Lima, a confidante of Diana, denied claims that the princess was pregnant or intended to marry Dodi.

However, Mr Fayed's lawyers said it should be up to the coroner to decide whether the confidential material should be presented at the inquest.

''I can see no reason why these documents should not be made available to the coroner,'' The Observer quoted John McNamara, Harrods head of security as saying.

''For the sake of transparency - and to determine whether they are germane to the inquest - the coroner should ask to see the files,'' he added.

Mr McNamara added that if the tapes are made available then they should be made available to all interested parties.

The NSA is not the only intelligence agency to be dragged into the Diana affair. Mr Al-Fayed has already raised questions about the involvement of the British security services in Diana's death.

He claims the driver of the car Henri Paul, in which Diana and Dodi died, was in the pay of the security services. The claims prompted MI6 to hire a barrister to represent its interests during the inquest.

The US authorities insist they did not eavesdrop on Diana but recorded her conversations as part of security operations involving other legitimate targets.

The FBI has already handed over material relating to Diana, but it has been so heavily edited that Fayed's lawyers say it is meaningless.

UNI

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