“When aviation lawyer Jerry Skinner stopped by his suburban Cincinnati office last Christmas, he found the door ajar and the interior trashed. The files for his latest lawsuit, on behalf of victims of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash, were missing.”
In fact, this isn’t the lawyer’s first brush with a rogue state. In 1988, a terrorist bomb exploded aboard Pan Am Flight 103, sending flaming chunks of the plane hurtling down onto the town of Lockerbie, Scotland. Two hundred and seventy people died, including those hit by the wreckage.
Two Libyan intelligence officers were believed to be behind the bombing. So when American relatives of the victims came to Mr Skinner’s office, he filed an international claim against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. In the end, he says, the Libyan response was quite different to the Russian one.
“The Libyan security services immediately asked for a sit-down meeting to talk about the case. They had some urgent economic needs that could only be met with [US-imposed economic] sanctions dropped. They approached us from the very beginning as ‘we will pay your people, but you have to help us with the politics’.
The negotiations lasted two and a half years before Libya paid £1.69 billion to the families Mr Skinner represented. He is not optimistic about a similarly swift resolution with Russia