Sen­a­tors say BP may have had role in Locker­bie bomber case

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

WASHINGTON — Demo­cratic sen­a­tors on Wed­nes­day ramped up pres­sure on BP to ex­plain whether it played a role in the re­lease last year of the con­victed Locker­bie bomber.

The sen­a­tors — Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York and Robert Me­nen­dez and Frank Laut­en­berg of New Jersey — are prob­ing whether BP helped fa­cil­i­tate the re­lease of Ab­del­baset al-Me­grahi to fi­nal­ize a $900 mil­lion deal that al­lowed BP to drill for oil in Libyan wa­ters.

On Tues­day, the group asked the State Depart­ment to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of BP’s in­volve­ment in Me­grahi’s re­lease from a Scot­tish prison 10 months ago. On Wed­nes­day, the sen­a­tors called on BP to sus­pend its drilling in the Libyan re­gion un­til more is known.

Me­grahi was con­victed and sen­tenced to life in prison for the 1988 bomb­ing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 189 Amer­i­cans. Last year, Me­grahi was re­leased from a Scot­tish prison and re­turned to Libya.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions for his re­lease came at the same time that BP signed the off­shore drilling deal with the Libyan govern­ment. BP spokesman Toby Odone ac­knowl­edged that in 2007, BP told Bri­tish of­fi­cials the com­pany was “concerned about the slow progress that was be­ing made in con­clud­ing” a pris­oner trans­fer agree­ment with Libya.

How­ever, Odone said that BP didn’t specif­i­cally dis­cuss the re­lease of Me­grahi.

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