Democratic senators investigating alleged BP links to a convicted Libyan terrorist will on Thursday send letters to the oil company’s top executives and senior UK and Scottish government figures asking them to attend a September congressional hearing.

The new letters come after the refusal of figures, including Tony Hayward, BP’s outgoing chief executive, to attend a hearing originally scheduled for Thursday. The senators, led by Robert Menendez of New Jersey, are meanwhile looking into ways to compel witnesses to attend if they again decline to appear before a special session of the Senate’s foreign relations committee.

“All of the witnesses we called have washed their hands of the suspicions surrounding al-Megrahi’s release in one way or another,” said Mr Menendez.

Mr Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, his New Jersey colleague, together with Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer of New York, have been pressing for an investigation into any role BP might have played in the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

BP has said it expressed concern to the UK government over the slow pace of securing a prisoner transfer agreement, but said it did not name Mr Megrahi.

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