Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Call to quiz US firms over Libya

[This is the headline over a report on the Big On Glasgow website. It reads as follows:]

The US senator locked in a row over the release of the Lockerbie bomber has been told to question American firms’ involvement in lobbying with Libya.

Senator Robert Menendez previously tried to link BP with the Scottish Government’s decision to release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi.

The oil giant is a member of the Libyan British Business Council (LBBC). The accusation that it affected the release has already prompted an angry rebuttal from First Minister Alex Salmond.

SNP backbencher Christine Grahame has now written to the senator attempting to turn the tables by pointing out that the US firm Exxon Mobil is also a member.

She said: “If Senator Menendez and his colleagues are so concerned that business interests may have lobbied the UK Government they should start by asking their own American businesses.

“Exxon Mobil is the largest oil company in the LBBC and is on its governing council.

“If Senator Menendez wants to find out what the LBBC wanted and if they lobbied the UK Government, the senator should start by questioning Exxon Mobil.”

Last week Senator Menendez issued a plea for “whistleblowers” to come forward as part of his own attempts to investigate the circumstances surrounding Megrahi’s release.

In a television appearance, he cited a letter from Conservative peer Lord Trefgarne, chairman of the LBBC, to Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.

But a reply from Mr MacAskill stated that political considerations would play no part in considering Megrahi’s release.

[A similar report appears in today's edition of The Scotsman. It can be read here.]

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