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Diana Death Questioned in Cannes ‘Unlawful Killing’ Debut

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Mohamed al Fayed
Mohamed al Fayed, gestures as he leaves the High Court in London on Feb. 18, 2008. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg News

May 13 (Bloomberg) -- The circumstances of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi al-Fayed were questioned today in a documentary financed by 2.5 million pounds ($4 million) from al-Fayed’s father Mohammed al-Fayed.

“Unlawful Killing,” screened in Cannes on the sidelines of the film festival, set out to illustrate that evidence after the fatal 1997 crash was covered up or deliberately ignored by the British establishment and media. The documentary was directed by U.K. actor and TV personality Keith Allen.

“I hope it shows people that nothing’s as it seems,” Allen told reporters in a stuccoed hall of the Carlton Hotel, Cannes. He referred to a “media-led campaign to disinform people.”

“All I’m doing is trying to get people to talk about this in a different way than they have done before,” said Allen, the father of singer-songwriter Lily Allen. “I don’t believe there is too much that is new.”

A number of U.K. TV channels refused funding, so he turned to Egyptian-born businessman al-Fayed for the money, Allen said. Asked how much, Allen said he didn’t know; an al-Fayed representative stepped in to give the figure.

The documentary details events up to and after the crash, and highlights what it presents as suspicious elements, such as the absence of CCTV images of the car driving the princess; the never-identified driver of a Fiat Uno that was reported to have followed closely behind; and the delay in getting the princess to the hospital.

Tony Curtis

Interviewed on camera are actor Tony Curtis, a friend of Dodi al-Fayed and biographer Kitty Kelley.

“The inquest has probably raised more questions than it answered,” journalist-presenter Piers Morgan said in another interview for the movie. The inquest was followed by a London jury ruling in 2008 that the Princess was unlawfully killed.

Allen’s film also attacks the British royal family, and in particular the Duke of Edinburgh, Diana’s onetime father-in-law. It blames the British establishment for the “cover-up.”

“I’ve got a history of having suspicions about establishment and government and court cases,” Allen said when asked why he was so intrigued about Diana’s death.

Officials at Buckingham Palace have always refused comment on claims by al-Fayed, the former owner of Harrods Ltd. The film produced criticism in U.K. newspapers for a fleeting shot of a black-and-white photo of Diana in the black Mercedes after it crashed.

The 64th Cannes Film Festival runs through May 22. Information: http://www.festival-cannes.com.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in Cannes at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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