Blog: Dean BestNow M&S crops up in Wikileaks cables

Dean Best | 21 December 2010

Following in the footsteps of the Royal Family and the Government, Marks and Spencer is the latest British institution to appear in the Wikileaks cables.

According to The Guardian, one of the newspapers publishing the database of a purported 250,000 cables, M&S was subjected to an "anti-semetic smear campaign" in Libya, where it opened its first store - the retailer's first in Africa - in 2008.

According to US embassy cables, the store in Tripoli was temporarily closed at least twice and its staff questioned amid accusations that M&S was a "Zionist entity" that supported Israel and "the killing of Palestinians".

The Guardian, citing the cable, said the row emerged due to "personal grievance" between a businessman linked to the M&S franchise and the Libyan Prime Minister.

The cables cite an alleged death threat directed at the businessman from state security officials. They also allege that the Prime Minister also threatened to freeze M&S's stock and close the outlet "permanently by year's end".

M&S of course states that it is a secular organisation and does align itself to any national, political or religious bodies.

The store is still operating but the allegations will no doubt cast questions over Libya's attractiveness for foreign investment.


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