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British Petroleum pleads guilty to criminal charges, pays added fine

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

BP Plc has agreed to pay an extra $4.5 billion on top of the tens of billions it is already paying out in regards to the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company has pleaded guilty to additional criminal charges in regards to the accident. The fines for the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig and subsequent leak from the Macondo oil well far exceeds the previous record for largest criminal penalty in US history.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The British oil giant says that it will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect relating to the death of 11 workers, one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act, one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in addition to one felony count of obstruction of congress.

BP will also pay $525 million to settle securities claims with U.S. regulators. BP said it would also pay the $4.5 billion over six years for the various resolutions.

"There can be no question that this historic announcement represents a critical step forward, and really underscores the justice department's determination to stand with the Gulf Coast communities," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in New Orleans.

BP will have to retain a monitor for four years. The monitor will oversee safety and risk management, as well as an independent auditor to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement, Holder said. BP said that it was "prepared to vigorously defend itself against remaining civil claims."

Memories run long hard and deep of the giant blast that occurred on April 20, 2010, which sank the Deepwater Horizon and unleashed the biggest marine oil spill in the industry's history. The incident has been widely acknowledged as the United States' worst ever environmental disaster. 

BP reached an agreement earlier this year to settle claims from fishermen and others affected by the disaster for $7.8 billion. This settlement must be approved by a federal judge and does not affect claims brought by the government.

In the years following the explosion and oil spill, BP has so far sold non-core assets totaling more than $35 billion to help fund massive compensation costs arising from the tragedy. The figure is set to reach $38 billion by late 2013.

BP posted bumper profits last month and raised its shareholder dividend. BP is preparing for a new Russian adventure after being hit by the Deepwater Horizon crisis.

Net profit jumped 7.7 per cent to $5.43 billion in the third quarter, or three months to September, compared to the same part of last year.

In addition, BP unveiled a strategic deal with the Russian state oil firm Rosneft in an attempt to reposition itself after the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Analysts believe that the Rosneft deal could lead to major exploration projects in the Arctic.

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