US Senate asking BP CEO to testify on Lockerbie

BP denies it had lobbied for Scottish authorities to free Lockerbie bomber.

Washington: A US Senate panel is inviting BP Plc chief executive Tony Hayward to testify next week at a hearing on the release of the Lockerbie bomber, a Senate source said on Wednesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also is requesting testimony from Mark Allen, who has served as an advisor to BP, said the source, who asked not to be named.

Senators want to learn whether the British oil giant influenced Scottish authorities` decision last year to release the Libyan man convicted of the 1988 bombing.

The invitations were going out on Wednesday evening, the source said.

BP confirmed recently it had encouraged the British government to complete a prisoner-transfer deal with Libya in 2007 because it was concerned a slow resolution would impact an offshore drilling deal with Libya.

But it denied it had lobbied for Scottish authorities to release Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who had been convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The bombing killed 270 people, including 189 Americans.

Questions about the Lockerbie bomber`s release have complicated relations between close allies Britain and the United States.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the bomber`s release, which happened while he was opposition leader. But this week in Washington he also expressed the view that there is no evidence BP had a role in the decision, saying it was made by Scottish authorities.

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez will chair the July 29 hearing of the Foreign Relations Committee, which will probe the circumstances surrounding the Lockerbie bomber`s release.

British diplomats in Washington suggested there may be written submissions to the Senate panel from the British government as well as Scottish officials.

Hayward is well known to Washington after he testified to Congress on the Gulf oil spill. Allen worked for the British government before becoming an advisor to BP.

Bureau Report

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