04/09/2011 01:57 BST | Updated 03/11/2011 09:12 GMT

Libya: Gaddafi Warned UK Over Plane Bomber

PRESS ASSOCIATION - The Gaddafi regime warned British officials that there would be "dire consequences" for relations between the UK and Libya if Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi died in his Scottish jail cell.

The extent of lobbying by the Libyan government leading up to Megrahi's release in August 2009 is laid bare in documents discovered by reporters in the abandoned British embassy building in Tripoli.

In one, seen by The Mail on Sunday, senior Foreign Office official Robert Dixon wrote to Foreign Secretary David Miliband in January 2009 that Muammar Gaddafi wanted Megrahi to return to Libya "at all costs".

"Libyan officials and ministers have warned of dire consequences for the UK-Libya relationship and UK commercial operations in Libya in the event of Megrahi's death in custody," he wrote, adding: "We believe Libya might seek to exact vengeance."

Megrahi - the only man convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing - was released on compassionate grounds after the Scottish government was told he had only three months to live. He is still alive today.

Other documents discovered in Tripoli apparently indicated that MI5 traded information with their Libyan counterparts.

The Security Service provided intelligence on British-based Libyans opposed to the Gaddafi regime, according to The Sunday Times, which said it had seen an MI5 paper marked "UK/Libya eyes only secret".

In return, MI5 received updates on the disclosures of terrorist suspects under interrogation in Libyan prisons.

Among the finds is a letter that then prime minister Tony Blair wrote in 2007 to help Gaddafi's son Saif with his PhD thesis. It begins "Dear Engineer Saif" and is signed off "Best wishes, yours sincerely, Tony Blair".

Foreign Secretary William Hague said he could not comment on security matters. But he said: "On the subject of these apparent disclosures, first of all they relate to a period under the previous government so I have no knowledge of those, of what was happening behind the scenes at that time."