Libya Withdraws Lockerbie Victims' Money

A Libyan Central Bank (search) official said the government has withdrawn half a billion dollars from an escrow account meant for relatives of people killed in the downing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the official news agency reported.

The official, quoted in a JANA late Friday, did not give a reason for the withdrawal of the money, intended for a final installment of $2 million per family. Libya, which has acknowledged responsibility for the bombing, has already paid each family $8 million in compensation after the United States and United Nations (search) agreed to lift sanctions.

But the State Department (search) has not removed Libya from its list of states that sponsor terrorism — the condition Libya set for the final payment.

A State Department spokeswoman, Joanne Moore, had no comment Saturday.

The 1988 bombing killed 270 people, including 181 Americans. In September, Washington removed a ban on commercial air service to Libya and released $1.3 billion in frozen Libyan assets in recognition of its steps to eliminate its program for weapons of mass destruction.