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Harrods owner denies sex assault allegation

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Harrods department store owner and Egyptian multimillionaire Mohamed Al Fayed was questioned by police Wednesday, a store spokeswoman said, after London Metropolitan Police said a man had been questioned "in connection with an allegation of sexual assault on a girl under 16."

Mohamed Al Fayed

Allegations against Mohamed Al Fayed were made in May this year.

Police did not name the man -- British police do not name suspects unless they face charges -- and the store did not say why Al Fayed was questioned, other than he "attended an interview with police to categorically refute an allegation widely reported in the media."

But the statement issued by Harrod's said that "despite assurances that today's interview would be kept confidential, he is concerned that it was reported within one hour of its conclusion."

Police, in their statement, said the alleged assault took place at a business in central London, and the allegation, which remains under investigation, was received in May.

The man they declined to name left the police station without being arrested, but "if the police need further assistance, he will be asked to return," the police statement said.

Harrods said in its statement that Al Fayed "did not attend under compulsion and the meeting lasted for less than half an hour."

It added, "From the outset, details of this allegation have appeared in the media, which they attributed to a police source," and Wednesday's report of the interview was another example of such a leak.

"Mr. Al Fayed vehemently denies this allegation and is confident that his name will be cleared," it said.

Al Fayed's son, Dodi Fayed, died in 1997 along with Princess Diana when the car they were riding in crashed in a Paris tunnel. Since their deaths, Al Fayed has accused the British royal family of conspiring to cause the crash, alleging that Diana was pregnant with Fayed's child at the time of the crash.

After a six-month inquest, a British jury in April ruled Diana's death an unlawful killing and blamed "grossly negligent" driving by her alcohol-impaired chauffeur, as well as photographers in pursuit of the car, for the fatal crash.

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