Many people for obvious reasons are more than willing to believe the worst about BP.
So when stories circulated this week that the company had lobbied for Scotland to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi in order to secure an oil deal with Libya, many BP haters were perfectly ready to believe that.
But the United Kingdom's ambassador to the U.S., Nigel Sheinwald, says BP played no such a role in the al-Megrahi affair.
The envoy explained in an open letter to Sen. John Kerry, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
I am troubled by the claims made in the press that Megrahi was released because of an oil deal involving BP, and that the medical evidence supporting his release was paid for by the Libyan government. Both of these allegations are untrue. The British Government worked with British business to promote legitimate commercial interests with Libya, as we do with many other countries. But there was no link between those legitimate commercial activities and the Scottish Executive's decision to release Megrahi. And as the Scottish Executive has stated, the prognosis issued by the doctor quoted recently in the press (Karol Sikora) did not feature in their consideration of Megrahi's case. He was released on compassionate grounds based on medical advice from other doctors that he had three months to live. This is common practice in the Scottish legal system.