The UK government has denied that the release of Adbelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, had any connection to trade ties with Libya.
A report in The Sunday Times, a British newspaper, alleged that an oil deal had influenced the decision to transfer al-Megrahi from prison in Scotland to his home in Libya last week.
The newspaper said that it had ascertained leaked letters written by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, in 2007 in which he said that it was "in the overwhelming interest of the United Kingdom" not to exclude al-Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.
Straw had written to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who made the formal decision to release al-Megrahi.
Six weeks after the letter was written an oil deal between Libya and BP, a UK oil firm, was formalised.
Following The Sunday Times' article Straw said that the prisoner transfer agreement was part of an attempt to end Libya's international isolation following Tripoli's abandonment of a nuclear weapons programme.
"What is totally untrue is that any part of these negotiations with the Libyans was that at some stage Mr Megrahi would be released," Straw said.
He said that the Scottish government maintained veto power over any prisoner transfer and had rejected such a move for al-Megrahi, rather choosing a compassionate release.
"The implication that, somehow or other, we have done some backdoor deal in order to release Mr Megrahi is simply nonsense," Straw said.
Al-Megrahi was convicted of bombing a Pan Am flight over the Scotish town of Lockerbie in 1988, killing 270 people.
He was freed on compassionate grounds, as he is said to be suffering from terminal cancer.
Al-Megrahi was admitted to a Tripoli hospital on Sunday after his condition deteriorated rapidly.
Source: Al Jazeera (English)