BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson reports
"Consideration was given to charging Mr Bollier, a Swiss businessman, as part of the conspiracy to bring down the jumbo jet"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 21 June, 2000, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Firm boss 'was Lockerbie suspect'
Lockerbie scene
Case currently focusing on bomb timer
The prosecution team in the trial of two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing had considered charging a Swiss businessman in connection with the attack.

The revelation came as Edwin Bollier faced further questions at the trial in the Netherlands.

Trial details
The two accused are Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, 48, and Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, 44
They deny three charges - murder, conspiracy to murder and a breach of the 1982 Aviation Security Act
The trial is expected to last a year
About 1,000 witnesses are expected to be called
The case is being heard by three Scottish judges
Advocate Depute, Allan Turnbull QC, said charging Mr Bollier with conspiracy to cause the bombing in which 270 people died had been an option considered by the prosecution.

Mr Turnbull then said that just because Mr Bollier had not been charged did not mean he was not involved.

The businessman, a partner in the company Mebo, has been giving evidence about how he travelled from Libya to Malta the day before the Lockerbie disaster in December 1988.

Defence objection

David Burns, for the defence, said that if the Crown planned to inquire further about Mr Bollier's movements and suggested he was a co-conspirator they would be forced to object as they had not been given notice of that position.

The decision not to include him as a co-conspirator is not a recognition that he has nothing to do with the matter

Allan Turnbull QC, prosecution
Mr Turnbull told the court: "If we were going to libel him we would have done so, these issues have been considered.

"The decision not to include him as a co-conspirator is not a recognition that he has nothing to do with the matter.

"The extent of his involvement is yet to be developed in evidence. It may be he has involvement in what occurred, but unless the Crown is able to adduce evidence that places him in the conspiracy, it is not appropriate to libel him as a co-conspirator."

The prosecution has alleged that the bomb which destroyed the jumbo jet Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie came from Malta and was detonated by an MST-13 electronic timer supplied by Mr Bollier.

Trip to Tripoli

Mr Bollier's company designed the timers, hoping to win a large order from the Libyan military.

He told the court he took 20 prototypes to the headquarters of the Libyan Secret Service in Tripoli.

Edwin Bollier
Edwin Bollier: Could have faced charge
Mr Bollier said he booked a ticket from Zurich for Tripoli for 18 December, 1988, but said he was unable to get a direct return flight home and had to travel back to Switzerland via Malta on 21 December.

Mr Turnbull asked Mr Bollier why he had to stay in Tripoli so long and told him: "I am wondering why you didn't arrange to come back on December 19 travelling via Malta."

Mr Bollier said: "I don't think there was a flight, I don't remember."

He said he would have preferred to take a direct flight back, but was unable to.

Military trials

During his trip to Tripoli he was taken to the desert city of Sheba where he saw his company's timers being used in military trials to detonate explosions.

Mr Bollier has waged a campaign in the media and on the internet denying any involvement in the Lockerbie bombing.

In court, he has sought to claim fragments of a timer circuit board found in the crash site could have been made by an American firm which supplied the CIA.

But under persistent questioning by Mr Turnbull, he had accepted that could not have been possible.

During the court hearing on Tuesday, Mr Bollier was shown a fragment of circuit board from an MST-13 timer which he accepted was manufactured by his company.

The prosecution claim that the fragment was from the timer which detonated the bombing.

Mr Bollier had also revealed he had met one of the accused, Mr Megrahi, several times.

He believed him to be a major in the Libyan military, possibly a relative of the country's leader, Colonel Gadaffi.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

19 Jun 00 | World
Trial told of bomb timer links
15 Jun 00 | World
Lockerbie bomb 'in suitcase'
14 Jun 00 | World
Trial shown cassette 'bomb'
13 Jun 00 | World
Judges issue 'slow down' plea
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more World stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more World stories