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MALTA PROBE INTO LOCKERBIE WITNESS; Prosecutors to study shopkeeper's evidence.

Byline: BEN SPENCER

PROSECUTORS in Malta are to launch a probe into a key Lockerbie witness.

They want to examine evidence given by Tony Gauci, who identified Abdelbaset al-Megrahi as being responsible for placing explosives on Pan Am flight 103.

Gauci ran a clothes shop in Swieqi, Malta, at the time and claimed Megrahi bought a piece of clothing which was found among the debris of the aircraft in December 1988.

His evidence was crucial in securing the 2001 conviction of the former Libyan intelligence officer.

A Maltese legal official has been quoted as saying: "Tony Gauci is an area we want to investigate more thoroughly."

Megrahi, who was released from prison in August, has accused the US of "buying evidence" by paying Gauci pounds 1.2million under the rewards for justice programme.

After Gauci gave evidence at the trial, legal experts condemned him as an unreliable witness and Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, the former Lord Advocate who oversaw the prosecution, described him as an "apple short of a picnic".

reporters@sundaymail.co.uk

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Testimony: Gauci gave evidence to Megrahi trial
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 1, 2009
Words:183
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