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Egyptian billionaire accused of spying for Israeli intelligence service found dead in London

London Evening Standard | June 28, 2007

An Egyptian billionaire who feared assassination after being labelled an Israeli double agent has been found dead outside his London flat.

Financier Ashraf Marwan, 62, the son-in-law of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, had been named by Israeli officials as a source for the country's intelligence service Mossad.

Scotland Yard is treating his death in Carlton House Terrace in St Johns as 'unexplained'.

Mr Marwan, 62, who was married to Mr Nasser's daughter Mona, had been living in London for many years after leaving Egyptian government service in the late Seventies.

His widow is set to fly to London today after travelling from Beirut to Cairo yesterday where she was met at the airport by family members.

Essam Abdel Samad, the head of the Union of Egyptians in Europe, said he had spoken to Mr Marwan's maid, who said she was the only other person in the fourth 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," Mr Samad told Egyptian satellite TV station al-Youmin a telephone call from London.

The former shareholder in Chelsea FC had spoken about his fears of being killed after he was accused three years ago of being an agent during the Yom Kippur war.

Israeli media claimed that on the eve of the war of October 1973, Mr Marwan told Mossad that Egypt and Syria were about to attack Israel.

However, some members of London's Arab community believe he might have committed suicide after he was diagnosed with a serious illness.

Mr Marwan associated with some of Britain's wealthiest people. His contacts included former Chelsea chairman Ken Bates, arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, the late Tiny Rowland and Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi.

He was identified as an agent in the book Eve Of Destruction by Vanity Fair writer Harold Bloom.

According to journalists in Israel, Mr Marwan first walked into the Israeli embassy in London in 1969 and volunteered to give information but he was turned down. He was allegedly later recruited by Mossad.

Military historian Gad Shimron, a former Mossad officer, said: "We know now, from testimony-given by Israeli spymastersand made public years after the Yom Kippur war, that Marwan was the man who tipped off the Mossad."

He gave the warning just hours before the Egyptian attack on Israeli forces on the east bank of the Suez Canal but Israel decided not to order a general mobilisation, Mr Shimron added.

"Later, the chief of Israeli military intelligence justified the inaction by saying Marwan was suspected of being a double agent planted by the Egyptians," he said.

Mr Marwan worked as a senior information official for both Mr Nasser and his successor, Anwar Sadat, but it has been claimed that he also had an Egyptian intelligence service role.

He acted as an envoy to Arab countries and between 1974 and 1979 he headed the Arab Industrialisation Organisation, an Arab-financed project to develop arms industries in Egypt.

Mr Marwan is survived by his wife, two sons, Gamal and Ahmed, and five grandchildren.

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