November 22, 2012

BP Settles Criminal Charges

Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling unit on fire 2010

BP said that it had agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and other penalties and to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the rig explosion two years ago that killed 11 people and caused a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"This is unprecedented, both with regard to the amounts of money, the fact that a company has been criminally charged and that individuals have been charged as well," Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said.

While the settlement dispels one dark cloud that has hovered over BP since the spill, it does not resolve what is potentially the largest penalty related to the incident: the company could owe as much as $21 billion in pollution fines under the Clean Water Act if it is found to have been grossly negligent. 

Under its deal with the Justice Department, BP will pay about $4 billion in penalties over five years. That amount includes $1.256 billion in criminal fines, $2.394 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for remediation efforts and $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences. The criminal fine is one of the largest levied by the United States against a corporation.
BP also agreed to pay $525 million to settle civil charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled investors about the flow rate of oil from the well.
Post a Comment