BP agrees to pay $4.5B; 3 employees charged

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  1. Political Junky

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    BP agrees to pay $4.5B; 3 employees charged | www.palmbeachpost.com

    The Associated Press
    NEW ORLEANS — A day of reckoning arrived for BP on Thursday as the oil giant agreed to plead guilty to a raft of charges in the deadly Gulf of Mexico spill and pay a record $4.5 billion, including the biggest criminal fine in U.S. history. Three BP employees were also charged, two of them with manslaughter.
    The settlement with the federal government came 2½ years after the fiery drilling-rig explosion that killed 11 workers and set off the nation's largest offshore oil spill.
    In announcing the deal, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the tragedy "resulted from BP's culture of privileging profit over prudence."
    BP will plead guilty to charges involving the 11 deaths and lying to Congress about how much oil was spewing from the blown-out well.
    "We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders," said Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP chairman. "It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims."
    The settlement appears to be easily affordable for BP, which made a record $25.8 billion in profits last year. And it will have five years to pay. But the oil giant still faces several billion dollars in additional claims for damage to people's livelihoods and the environment.
    Separately, BP rig workers Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine were indicted on federal charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, accused of repeatedly disregarding abnormal high-pressure readings that should have been glaring indications of trouble just before the blowout.
    In addition, David Rainey, BP's former vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, was charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements. Prosecutors said he withheld information that more oil was gushing from the well than he let on.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012

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