Sunday, 1 May 2016

Libya in £68m Lockerbie payout

[This is the headline over a report published in The Sunday Times on this date in 2005. It reads as follows:]

The payment, following Libya’s admission of responsibility for the tragedy which claimed 270 lives, was made into a Scottish bank account last week.
Minmar, which insured the fuselage of the aircraft, will receive £45m plus interest, while the remainder will go to the trustees of Pan Am, which went into bankruptcy in 1991, three years after the tragedy.
Until recently, lawyers for the Libyan government had contested the insurance claim in the Scottish courts despite a public admission of guilt by Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, the country’s leader. [RB: No such public admission of guilt was ever made by Gaddafi.]
Charles Wardle, the former Tory Home Office and trade and industry minister who was involved in compensation discussions, described the payment — which settles the insurance claim — as a positive step forward.
“On Wednesday $130m was paid into the Scottish bank account. It is a significant piece of unfinished business,” he added. “This is the last action to be settled in respect of the Lockerbie bombing in a Scottish court, so it is momentous in that respect.
“Nothing will ever remove the horror of the atrocity in the eyes of the Scottish people but at least the shadow it has cast over the Scottish courts for all these years has been lifted.”
The payment follows a visit to Tripoli by Tony Blair in March last year, during which he is believed to have persuaded Gadaffi to settle the claim.
British and American diplomats had a successful follow-up meeting in Libya in January. Anthony Layden, the British ambassador to Tripoli, and lawyers representing Pan Am’s interests also took part.
However, it is still uncertain how Libya’s latest move will affect the final compensation package for relatives of the victims of the disaster.
[RB: The background of this compensation claim is explored here.]

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