Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BP Accused of Deal on Lockerbie Bomber; US Senators Ask for Probe into 'Links between Release and Libya Oil Deal'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BP Accused of Deal on Lockerbie Bomber; US Senators Ask for Probe into 'Links between Release and Libya Oil Deal'

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Prigg Science Editor

US SENATORS have called for an inquiry into whether BP played a role in last year's release of the Lockerbie bomber.

As BP continued to struggle to cap the well in the Gulf of Mexico at the centre of the world's worst oil spill, US politicians have begun looking for other ways to target the company.

Four senators from New Jersey and New York asked the State Department to investigate possible links between the firm's involvement in the early release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, who was sent home to Tripoli from Scotland on compassionate grounds last year, and an agreement which will see BP begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Sidra, off Libya. The request to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for an official investigation comes a day after the same senators asked her to press Britain's government to look into the circumstances surrounding the release of the convicted bomber.

"Evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster seems to suggest that BP would put profit ahead of people -- its attention to safety was negligible and it routinely underestimated the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf," said the letter from Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York, and Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez of New Jersey "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?" BP signed a $900 million exploration agreement with Libya in May 2007, the same month that Britain and Libya signed a memorandum of understanding that paved the way for al-Megrahi's release from a Scottish prison.

At the time, BP said it told British officials to quickly seal a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya but did not mention al-Megrahi.

BP repeated that it did not specifically talk about the al-Megrahi case. …

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