A senior Scottish politician says the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber was based on justice rather than commercial considerations.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy first minister, told the BBC Monday that Abdel Baset al-Megrahi's release earlier this month because he is dying was allowed "entirely on justice grounds, and there were no influences relating to political or economic interests that played a part in that."

The Sunday Times reported the British government agreed al-Megrahi could be included in a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya because it was in Britain's "overwhelming interests" as a major oil deal was being negotiated.

The Scottish government later turned down al-Megrahi's transfer request, but released him on compassionate grounds.