The son of the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gadafy, has accused relatives of the Lockerbie victims of being "very greedy" for seeking compensation.

Seif al-Islam al-Gadafy said the Lockerbie families had traded with "the blood of their sons and daughters" during negotiations over payouts for the deaths of their relatives.

Gadafy, who surprised many last week when he announced that he would no longer be involved in politics, also told a BBC documentary that Libya accepted responsibility for Britain's worst terrorist attack only to get international sanctions lifted.

"You have to ask the families of the victims," he said. "The negotiation with them, it was very terrible and very materialistic and was very greedy. They were asking for more money and more money and more money. I think they were very greedy and I think they were trading with the blood of their sons and daughters."

Jim Swire, whose daughter Flora died in the atrocity, said the compensation received by relatives could never make up for the loss of loved ones. Two hundred and seventy people died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

"So far as many relatives I know would say, we would gladly repay any 'compensation' money if we could just have our loved ones back," Swire said. "Financial 'compensation' must remain in its inverted commas. Money cannot buy our families back."

In May 2002, Libya offered £1.3bn in compensation to the Lockerbie victims, which amounts to £4.8m for each family.

Swire said the Libyan government's admission of guilt for the Lockerbie bombing allowed its economy to recover while giving the west access to the country's oil.

"The Libyans have achieved what they want and western commerce has got what it wanted too," he said. "In this, many of us feel like pawns."

In a letter published in the Herald in Glasgow, Swire wrote: "I just wish that the needs of the relatives, namely a thirst for the truth and for justice, would be attended to, rather than an alleged hunger for money."

Another Lockerbie relative, Martin Cadman, said he was not surprised by Gadafy's comments. Cadman said relatives received a small amount of compensation from Pan Am, and the money paid by Libya was not compensation.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "You can't be compensated twice for the same event, and whatever it was, it was not compensation. It was some political device to allow Libya to get back into world trade, I suppose. I don't know."

On accusations of greed, he said: "I can't comment on whether some relatives are greedy. I can only say my own conscience is completely clear."

The British government said it disagreed with Gadafy's comments and believed it was right that the victims were compensated.

A spokesman said: "We believe it is right that they receive fair compensation while recognising that, for the families concerned, no compensation can alleviate the pain and suffering of their loss… We disagree with the comments made by Seif al-Islam al-Gadafy and our thoughts are with the families of Lockerbie victims. Libya's agreement to pay the outstanding compensation due to them helps draw a further line under Libya's past support for terrorism."

Libya and the United States signed a deal two weeks ago to compensate American and Libyan victims of bombings. The deal ended Libya's legal liability from multiple lawsuits of families of the US victims and cleared the way for the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Tripoli and Washington.

There were 26 lawsuits filed by American citizens against Libya and three by Libyan citizens against the US. The deal could lead to payouts running into hundreds of millions of dollars. Compensation will be paid to US and Libyan victims and relatives of those who died in the Lockerbie bombing and the 1986 bombing of a Berlin disco that killed three and wounded 229.

Libyans who were killed in 1986 when US warplanes bombed Tripoli and Benghazi are also covered, according to Libyan officials. Libya said the US strikes killed at least 40 people, including Muammar Gadafy's adopted daughter.

A former Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, is serving a life sentence for the Lockerbie bombing. Convicted in 2001, he is serving a minimum sentence of 27 years. In June last year the Scottish criminal cases review commission granted him leave to appeal for a second time.

One of the reasons for the appeal was that Tony Gauci, who picked al-Megrahi out in an identity parade, had seen a photograph of him four days before the appeal. The BBC2 documentary, called The Conspiracy Files: Lockerbie, says Scottish police knew Gauci had seen this photograph only a few days before the line-up. According to the programme, this information was not passed to the defence, contrary to police rules of disclosure.

The prosecution said al-Megrahi wrapped the bomb in clothes he bought from a shop in Malta before it was checked in and transferred to the Pan Am flight. Gauci owned the shop Mary's House in Malta, where the clothes were said to have been bought.

Gauci identified al-Megrahi and said he was in the shop a few weeks before the bombing. But the case review commission discovered that Gauci had seen al-Megrahi's photo in a magazine linking him to the bombing only a few days before picking him out in an identity parade.



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