Senators Johnson, Valesky: Pull State Pension Funds From U.K. Companies with Libyan Ties

Craig M. Johnson

August 26, 2009

Call to Action Amid Outrageous Release of Pan Am Flight 103 Terrorist

State Senators Craig M. Johnson (D-Nassau) and David J. Valesky (D-Oneida,) incensed over the release and subsequent “hero’s welcome” received by the terrorist convicted of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombings, today sent a letter to NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli urging him to divest state pension funds from any United Kingdom-based companies that conduct business with Libya. 

This call for divestment comes as a result of information suggesting that Scotland's release of  Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was somehow influenced by the desire for United Kingdom-based companies to forge closer economic ties with the Libyan government.

“Allowing this convicted terrorist to walk is an insult to the memory of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 – especially when it appears to have been done in the name of commerce,” said Senator Johnson. “We have a moral obligation to ensure that New York's pension system is not directly, or indirectly supporting anyone who stands to profit from this repugnant situation.” 

Ten Long Island residents were among the 270 people that were killed in the 1988 terrorist attack over Lockerbie, Scotland. 

“To release this mass murderer for any reason is an outrage in itself, but when I learned that profit may be involved, I had to take action,” Senator Valesky, Vice President Pro-Tempore of the State Senate, said. “Too many lives were lost and too many families were destroyed, including 34 Syracuse University students and many other New York State residents.” 

Comptroller DiNapoli has taken previous action to divest from companies that conduct business with the Sudanese and Iranian governments. Senators Valesky and Johnson are imploring the Comptroller to do the same in this case. The Senators said they would be willing to introduce legislation to give the Comptroller authority to divest if needed.