Crucial Lockerbie evidence `flawed'

A KEY witness has claimed that a crucial piece of evidence from the Lockerbie bombing is flawed.

Edwin Bollier, a Swiss businessman who sold timing devices to Libya, has told prosecutors that a tiny fragment found after the 1988 aircraft crash could not have been used in a bomb. His claims, if true, would undermine the case against the two Libyans accused of the terrorist act.

The revelation will give a major headache to the prosecution in the case. The timer fragment, about the size of a thumbnail, is a central piece of forensic evidence against Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, whose trial is due to start in just 10 weeks' time in Holland.

Mr Bollier, a partner in a Zurich-based electronics firm called MEBO, said the piece of circuit board could have come from one of his timers. But he told Scottish police when he examined it on 14 September that it had never been used in a bomb because it had not had electronic components soldered to it. "For me this fragment is fabricated," he told them.

Mr Bollier has asked for experts from the US and from a leading electronics company to examine the piece of circuit board to see if they agree with his analysis. "The whole story about this fragment is very mysterious and there is something unbelievable about it," he said yesterday.

Mr Bollier's firm sold 20 MST-13 timers to the Libyan Armed Forces Secret Service between 1985 and 1986, and learnt that the sales could become part of the Lockerbie case in 1990. Mr Bollier and his partner confirmed from a photograph that they had sold the parts to Libya and repeatedly asked to examine them.

Pan Am's insurers lodged a pounds 20m lawsuit against MEBO after learning that the firm had been linked to the bombing. But Mr Bollier's case has been taken up by Sir Teddy Taylor, Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, who is convinced that the Libyans did not blow up Pan Am flight 103.

"I have heard very strong evidence that, while the Libyans may have done some bad things, they were not involved with this one," Sir Teddy said.

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