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Gaddafi's £900m stash can be used to compensate for IRA terror, lawyer tells Parliament

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 10/09/2015

Funds stashed away by Colonel Gaddafi can be used to compensate victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism, a lawyer has said
Funds stashed away by Colonel Gaddafi can be used to compensate victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism, a lawyer has said

Funds stashed away by Colonel Gaddafi can be used to compensate victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism, a lawyer has said.

A committee of MPs was told £900m linked to the deposed dictator is held in the UK.

Jason McCue rejected Government claims that international law prevented the money being used to recompense victims.

He was speaking as relatives took their battle for compensation to Westminster.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee is examining the Government's failure to obtain compensation for victims of Libyan-backed IRA attacks.

Gaddafi armed the IRA from the mid-1980s, supplying Semtex plastic explosive used in a series of atrocities.

The now-deceased dictator and his henchmen deposited billions of pounds around the world.

Most of the loot, including a complex web of investment funds and a string of luxury properties, was frozen in 2011.

Mr McCue represents around 200 British victims of IRA attacks carried out with Libyan-supplied explosives.

Appearing before MPs yesterday, he accused the Government of failing victims. "Documents and testimony show that a policy existed that put arms and oil and partnership ahead of justice, and that victims' interests were second class," he said.

The cross-party committee was told one Gaddafi fund in the UK contained around £900m.

"We have information that there is a fund of £900m here which has been sat, not earning interest, which is in management which we'd like to be used - £900m is available," Mr McCue added.

He claimed the Government had avoided questions on Gaddafi's cash. "When we asked the Government how much money there is, they refused to tell us," he added.

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Responding to a question from DUP MP Gavin Robinson, Mr McCue insisted Gaddafi's assets could be used for compensation. He rejected an explanation by Kim Darroch, the national security adviser, that it was not possible under international law.

"I don't know who their lawyers are, but it is possible under international law," he added.

The committee heard other countries had secured multi-million pound payouts for victims of Libyan terrorism.

It includes a £1.2bn settlement obtained by the US government following the Lockerbie bombing.

Another £35m was paid out in respect of three people killed and 29 injured in the bombing of a disco in Berlin in 1986. And the French government secured £170m after 170 of its citizens were killed when UTA Flight 772 was blown up over the Sahara desert in 1989.

Independent MP Sylvia Hermon said the evidence was "deeply concerning and very troubling"

"The British Government appears to have distinguished between victims," she said.

Lady Hermon pointed to compensation secured for British victims of Lockerbie and the family of PC Yvonne Fletcher.

PC Fletcher was killed when shots were fired from inside the Libyan Embassy in London as she policed a demonstration in 1984.

"They appear to have been picking and choosing victims, which is really, deeply upsetting," the North Down MP added.

The committee also heard from victims campaigner Willie Frazer.

He told MPs five members of his family, including his father and uncle, were murdered by the IRA.

"What is the British Government all about? What is democracy about? Is it not looking after your citizens?"

Mr Frazer said Libya should bear a high level of responsibility for the IRA's campaign of terror.

"It's not just about the weapons - it's what went with it," he added.

"Millions of pounds also came to the IRA. The technology, the intelligence that they gave to the IRA is just unbelievable."

Gaddafi was ousted and killed in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Belfast Telegraph

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