By M. Holden/H. Carter
A former owner of Palma's luxury Son Vida Hotel and son-in-law of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Doctor Ashraf Marwan, was found dead in London on Wednesday.

The Egyptian billionaire financier was found dead beneath his fifth-floor flat in Mayfair. Yesterday Egyptian state media reported that Marwan, named by Israeli officials as a source for Mossad, “lost his balance” before a fatal fall from his balcony in Carlton House Terrace.

Ashraf Marwan, who sold his last remaining shares in the Son Vida hotel only two years ago, had been living in London for many years after leaving Egyptian government service late in the 1970s.

Israeli media say that Marwan, who was married to Abdel Nasser's daughter Mona, had passed a warning to Israel's Mossad intelligence agency on the eve of the 1973 Middle East war that Egypt and Syria were about to attack.

The Times reported that Marwan, 62, had feared for his life after he was publicly accused of being a spy for Mossad three years ago, but said there was also speculation that he may have committed suicide after a serious illness was diagnosed.

Egypt's MENA news agency quoted a source close to the family as saying Marwan suffered from balance problems recently and had been using a cane but had a “strong will” despite health issues. “A friend of Dr. Marwan who is a member of the Egyptian expatriate community in Britain was on his way to visit him and saw him on the balcony talking on his mobile phone. “Then he saw him during his fall after he lost his balance,” the source said.
British police said they were looking into the death of an Egyptian in London, and it was being treated as “unexplained” but not suspicious. “It's understood he may have fallen from a balcony,” a police spokesman said.
An autopsy was scheduled for today.
Essam Abdel Samad, the head of the Union of Egyptians in Europe, said he had spoken to Marwan's maid, who said she was the only other person in the fifth-floor flat at the time. “She said she was working in the kitchen and he was in his office and the first thing she knew was when someone came to the door and said he had fallen,” he told the Egyptian satellite station al-Youm in a call from London.

Marwan worked as a senior information official for both Abdel Nasser and his successor, President Anwar Sadat, but Egyptian media have said he also had intelligence duties.

Gad Shimron, a former Mossad officer turned historian, said Marwan had warned Israel hours before the Egyptian attack in 1973 but Israel decided not to order a general mobilisation. “We know now, from testimony given by Israeli spymasters and made public years after the Yom Kippur War, that Marwan was the man who tipped off the Mossad,” he said.


To be able to write a comment, you have to be registered and be logged in.

* Mandatory fields

Currently there are no comments.