US senators urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday to investigate whether oil giant BP pressed Britain to free the Lockerbie bomber to protect a lucrative deal with Libya.
“Evidence in the Deepwater Horizon disaster seems to suggest that BP would put profit ahead of people,” said Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg 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?” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Clinton.
The lawmakers pointed to a September 2009 report in Britain’s Times newspaper — denied by BP — that the oil giant lobbied British Justice Secretary Jack Straw for the release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi to safeguard a 2007 oil exploration deal valued at 900 million dollars.
Al-Megrahi, the only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, was released from a Scottish prison in August last year on health reasons despite vehement US opposition.
The Scottish government allowed the Libyan to return home on compassionate grounds after a diagnosis that he would live just a matter of months — but a recent report said that he may live for 10 years or longer.
An investigation into BP’s reported role “will help complete our understanding of the Scottish court’s decision to release this murderer and will help us understand if BP might use blood money to pay claims for damage in the Gulf of Mexico,” the lawmakers wrote to Clinton.