A senior British minister says trade and oil deals with Libya played a "very big part" in Britain's decision to include the Lockerbie bomber in a prisoner transfer agreement between the two countries.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw told The Daily Telegraph newspaper Saturday that he was "unapologetic" about including convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in the agreement with Libya, signed two years ago, just as British oil giant BP was seeking a multimillion dollar contract there.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was "no cover-up, no double-dealing, no deal on oil" linked to Megrahi's early release last month from a Scottish prison.Straw acknowledged to The Daily Telegraph that British trade interests were a crucial factor in the 2007 prisoner transfer negotiations with Libya, which he called a "rogue state" that "we wanted to bring back into the fold."
A few weeks later, in January 2008, Libya ratified a $900 million oil deal with BP.
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