3 Oct 2009

Lockerbie witness secretly paid - legal papers

11:27 pm on 3 October 2009

A key witness in the conviction of the Lockerbie bomber was secretly paid up to $US2.7 million in a deal approved by the United States government, according to legal papers released on Saturday.

The claims were made in new documents published by Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, who claims they prove he is innocent of the 1988 bombing of a passenger jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people.

The money went to Tony Gauci, the Maltese shopkeeper who sold clothing found to have been in the suitcase that contained the bomb.

Megrahi abandoned an appeal against his conviction for the bombing after the Scottish government released him from prison last month on compassionate grounds because he is terminally ill with prostate cancer.