Senators say BP may have had role in Lockerbie bomber case
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.