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A series of Sunday Times investigative pieces reported that the Lockerbie bomb had first been put on a plane in Malta. The bombing had been carried out by the Palestinian group (see P), after a gang member, Abu Talb, visited Malta. He was identified by a Maltese boutique owner as the man who bought clothes later found in the bomb suitcase.
A bag which ended up on Pan Am 103 was identified by a baggage handler as coming from an Air Malta flight. When a Granada TV documentary repeated the allegations, Air Malta sued Granada for libel. A hitherto unpublished document from Air Malta's lawyers demonstrated that there were no bags on the flight which went on to Pan Am 103 or 103A. Granada settled out of court.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs following the court case, Air Malta v. Granada Television, and pursuant to the Prime Minister's answer of 31 January, Official Report , column 558, what evidence has been found to substantiate a Malta connection with the Lockerbie bombing.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: Two Libyan nationals are accused of having placed, or having caused to be placed, the bomb which destroyed flight PA 103 on board an Air Malta flight from Luqa airport on 21 December 1988. As the hon. Gentleman knows, I cannot comment on the detail of the evidence against the two accused while criminal proceedings are pending. The recent out-of-court settlement between Air Malta and Granada Television has no bearing on the prosecution case against the two accused. I understand that the story in relation to which Air Malta brought the action was based on allegations different in detail from those contained in the warrants for the arrest of the two Libyans accused.