U.S. Looking Into Link Between BP Oil And Release Of Lockerbie Bomber
There are questions regarding a link between BP oil’s desire to get Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi released and its $900 million contract with Libya for oil exploration.
Soon after al-Megrahi’s release last year, BP acknowledged that it urged the British government to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya, but stressed it didn’t specify his case. It reiterated that stance this week when four U.S. Democratic senators asked the State Department to investigate whether there was a quid pro quo for the Lockerbie bomber’s release.
Al-Megrahi served eight years of a life sentence for the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board, most of them Americans, and 11 people on the ground. Last August, Scotland’s government released the cancer-striken man on compassionate grounds and he returned to Libya.
BP acknowledged in a statement at the time that it “did bring to the attention of the U.K. government in late 2007 our concerns about the slow progress in concluding a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya. Like many others, we were aware that delay might have negative consequences for U.K. commercial interests, including ratification of BP’s exploration agreement.”
“We were not talking about the al-Megrahi case because we were fully aware that this was solely a matter for the Scottish Executive and not the U.K. authorities,” BP said.
The British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, says that the release of al-Megrahi was a mistake. Four Democratic United States Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, along with New Jersey Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, are trying to tie the Lockerbie issue to the Gulf oil spill, arguing that evidence suggests the company put profit ahead of people.
“The question we now have to answer is, was this corporation willing to trade justice in the murder of 270 innocent people for oil profits?” they asked. Answering that question, they said, “will help us understand if BP might use blood money to pay claims for damage in the Gulf of Mexico.”Click here for reuse options!
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