[On this date in 2000, Edwin Bollier, co-owner of the Swiss company MEBO, testified at the Lockerbie trial. The following account of his evidence is taken from the website TheLockerbieTrial.com, edited by Ian Ferguson and me:]
Giving evidence today, Edwin Bollier, a partner in the Zurich based company MEBO, told the court that the timer fragments he was shown had been modified.
The Crown alleges that the timer, which was used in the detonation of the bomb which blew up Pan Am 103, was manufactured by MEBO and supplied to Libya.
After studying the fragments with a magnifying glass, Bollier said "They have been modified, I swear they have been modified."
He identified the two fragments as appearing to come from a MST-13 circuit board.
He went on to say though, that the pieces seemed to have been burnt since he first saw them at a Scottish police office last year and one fragment was slightly smaller than a photo taken a short time after it was discovered.
Alan Turnbull for the Crown, said small pieces were shaved off from the fragments so forensic scientists could perform tests, but Bollier claimed that several versions of the fragments might be floating about.
Bollier then claimed the fragments he viewed could have come from timers he sold to Libya or to East Germany or might even be counterfeit copies since the blueprints Mebo used to make the circuit boards had mysteriously disappeared.
When asked where the fragment could have come from Bollier said, "It could be counterfeit."
According to Bollier, Libya in 1985 ordered 20 timers with MST-13 circuit boards. These he claimed were samples produced by his company in hopes of getting further and bigger orders from Libya.
But Mebo was also hoping to sell the same type of timer to the Stasi in East Germany and delivered two prototype versions to them in 1985.
Bollier then claimed that the prototypes were different colours with the green circuit boards going to Libya and the brownish gray boards going to the East Germans.
Bollier then announced that a man who had a company in Florida claimed to have made replicas of Mebo's MST-13 timers and supplied them to the US Central Intelligence Agency.
He did not name the firm or the man, but said he had a letter from the man, who had also published the information on the Internet.
Earlier in his testimony Bollier said he witnessed tests, at a special forces training area near Tripoli, of timers he had sold to members of the Libyan Army in 1985.
Bollier said he was present when two of the timers were used on bomb cylinders, and he went to say that they were to be used in aircraft.
Bollier said that the Libyan Army would also use them in their war with Chad, blowing up camps to stop them falling into enemy hands.
Bollier had earlier identified Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, one of the accused, as a man he did business with on several occasions before the bombing. He pointed him out in the courtroom.
Bollier was not sure what position Megrahi held, but he thought that he was a fairly high official and well connected. Bollier described meeting Megrahi several times at the MEBO office in Zurich and in Tripoli.