The driver of the car in which Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed was in regular contact with the French secret service, a court has heard.

Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, liaised with police and intelligence services about important guests when required, Diana's inquest was told.

Claude Roulet, assistant to the president of the Ritz, told how Paul personally put him in contact with the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire when an important Russian diplomat was coming to stay.

He said the hotel was often asked about the movements of high-profile guests by the police, information he felt he "had to" provide.

"The French police knew about the arrival of some guests and when they needed to have a look at what they did they asked the security services at the Ritz to have some tips about what they did and when they came in and went out and who they met and so on," Roulet told the inquest.

Mohamed al Fayed, whose son Dodi was killed in the crash with Diana in August 1997, is convinced the couple were murdered in an MI6-led plot on the orders of the Duke of Edinburgh.

He believes Paul was in the pay of spies and acting on their orders in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997, when he drove Diana and Dodi through the Pont de l'Alma Tunnel in Paris where they crashed.

The jury has heard that during the summer of 1997, Paul was in fact the acting head of security at the hotel, because of a vacancy in the department.