Robert Mendick, and Edward Malnick writing at TelegraphUK:
Lockerbie bomber release linked to arms deal, according to secret letter
The release of the Lockerbie bomber was linked by the Government to a £400 million arms-export deal to Libya, according to secret correspondence obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.
An email sent by the then British ambassador in Tripoli details how a prisoner transfer agreement would be signed once Libya “fulfils its promise” to buy an air defence system.
The disclosure is embarrassing for members of the then Labour government, which always insisted that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s release was not linked to commercial deals.
The email, which contained a briefing on the UK’s relations with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, was sent on June 8 2008 by Sir Vincent Fean, the then UK ambassador, to Tony Blair’s private office, ahead of a visit soon after he stepped down as prime minister.
Mr Blair flew to Tripoli to meet Gaddafi on June 10, in a private jet provided by the dictator, one of at least six visits Mr Blair made to Libya after quitting Downing Street.
The briefing, which runs to 1,300 words, contains revealing details about how keen Britain was to do deals with Gaddafi. It also suggests that:
• the UK made it a key objective for Libya to invest its £80 billion sovereign wealth fund through the City of LondonThe release of Megrahi in August 2009 caused a huge...........
• the UK was privately critical of then President George Bush for “shooting the US in the foot” by continuing to put a block on Libyan assets in America, in the process scuppering business deals
• the Department for International Development was eager to use another Libyan fund worth £130 million to pay for schemes in Sierra Leone and other poverty-stricken countries.