'Tiny' Rowland got Lockerbie lawyer

John Arlidge,Will Bennett
Monday 11 October 1993 23:02 BST

ROLAND 'Tiny' Rowland, head of Lonrho, the international conglomerate, has intervened to speed moves to bring two Libyans accused of the Lockerbie bombing to trial.

Mr Rowland, who has close links with Libya's leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, helped to secure a Scottish lawyer for the men. The appointment of Alistair Duff, an Edinburgh solicitor-advocate, has raised hopes that they may go on trial in Scotland over the downing of Pan Am flight 103 in December 1988, which left 270 people dead.

The news of Mr Rowland's involvement comes as the United Nations is due to consider tougher sanctions against Libya. Last year Mr Rowland condemned sanctions in an article in the Observer, which he then owned.

Lonrho has extensive business links with Libya. Last year Libya bought one third of the shares in Lonrho's Metropole Hotel chain for pounds 177.5m through the Libyan Arab Foreign Investment Company.

UN sanctions imposed after Colonel Gaddafi refused to hand over the men - in particular the ban on air traffic - has made doing business with Libya difficult.

John Cama, former senior partner at Lonrho's City solicitors, Cameron Markby Hewitt, and a consultant to Lonrho, revealed Dr Ibrahim Legwell, the Libyan leading the legal team, asked Mr Rowland to help to find a laywer to advise on Scottish law. He said: 'Tiny consulted me, as his legal adviser, after Dr Legwell approached him. I recommended Alistair Duff.'

Mr Rowland's intervention was not a surprise, he added. 'Tiny has been a friend of Colonel Gaddafi for over 24 years.'

Although Mr Cama is not an official member of the legal team, he and Peter Hewes, a Cameron Markby partner, met the suspects - Abdel Baset Ali Mahmed al-Megrahi and Al-Amin Khalifa Fhima - in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, this weekend. They also attended a meeting of the legal advisers.

Mr Cama, Mr Hewes, Mr Duff and Lord Macaulay of Bragar, an Edinburgh QC, flew home from Tunisia on a private jet thought to have been chartered by Lonrho.

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