There is no evidence BP Plc had any connection to last year's release of a Libyan man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie airline bombing, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Saturday.
Hague sent U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry a letter offering that assurance as BP remains under scrutiny over its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the U.S. coast.
The Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a July 29 hearing on possible ties between BP and the release by Scotland of Abdel Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
"There is no evidence that corroborates in any way the allegations of BP involvement in the Scottish Executive's decision to release Megrahi on compassionate grounds in 2009, nor any suggestion that the Scottish Executive decided to release Megrahi in order to facilitate oil deals for BP," Hague said in the letter obtained by Reuters.
Scotland released Megrahi last August, despite fierce protests by U.S. officials, after being advised he was suffering terminal prostate cancer and had as little as three months to live. He returned to Tripoli and is still alive.
The Scottish government on Friday denied it had any contact with BP before its decision to release Megrahi.
BP has said that it had expressed concerns and lobbied the British government about the slow progress in resolving a different prisoner transfer agreement with Libya in 2007.
The prisoner transfer agreement would have allowed inmates in one county to serve out their time in the other. While it could have applied to Megrahi, he ultimately was released as a result of a separate process.
The Lockerbie bombing killed 270 people, most of them Americans. Megrahi was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands in 2001.
Hague said that Nigel Sheinwald, the British ambassador to the United States, would remain in close contact with the Senate committee to discuss what "other assistance it would be appropriate for us to give" on the matter.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday. The BP oil spill is likely to be discussed but it is unclear whether the Lockerbie issue also will be raised.