Open verdict for Egyptian Mossad 'spy' death

By Jennifer Lipman, July 21, 2010
Dr Ashraf Marwan

Dr Ashraf Marwan

A coroner has said there was “no evidence” that an Egyptian businessman accused of being a Mossad spy was murdered by Israel.

Coroner Dr William Dolman at Westminster Coroners' Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence of unlawful killing or suicide for the death of Dr Ashraf Marwan in Britain in 2007.

But, recording an open verdict, Dr Dolman acknowledged that there were still “many unanswered questions”.

Dr Marwan’s widow said she still believed the 62-year-old millionaire, found dead by the fourth-floor balcony of his London home, had been pushed.

A close aide of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat before he was assassinated, Dr Marwan was identified by several sources as both a Mossad spy and a double agent for Egypt.

In 2002 an Israeli historian claimed Dr Marwan had alerted Israel of Egypt and Syria’s plans to attack on Yom Kippur of 1973.

The allegations, made by Ahron Bregman, have never been confirmed. The academic said he was helping Dr Marwan write his memoirs before his death.

He had said he “strongly believed” Dr Marwan was a double agent working mainly for the Egyptians.

Interviewed soon after Dr Marwan’s death, Mr Bregman said the Egyptian had spoken of concerns for his safety and his fears of assassination.

But he also said: “It was neither in the interests of the Israelis nor in the interests of the Egyptians to get rid of him.”

Nevertheless, Dr Marwan’s relatives maintained he died in “suspicious circumstances” and called for the coroner to open an investigation.

Dr Marwan’s widow, Mona Nasser, daughter of former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, welcomed the fact that suicide was ruled out but said she still believed he was “thrown from the balcony”.

She said outside the court: "The truth will come out. How can he fall? Never."

"I wasn't there when it happened but I'm certain someone came in and just threw him over the balcony.

“He was very frail and could easily have been carried."

However in a statement the Marwan family said they accepted the coroner's decision.

Dr Dolman said: "Did he jump or did he fall? The evidence does not provide a clear answer.

He added: “We must restrict ourselves to a fact-finding exercise and not indulge in the luxury of mere speculation."

Last updated: 12:37pm, July 21 2010