BP will pay a record $4.5 billion in fines and plead guilty to a dozen felony counts under a deal with the US government to settle criminal charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident that killed 11 workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, sank after the April 2010 explosion. The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.
[Published November 15, 2012 FoxNews.com]
Federal prosecutors also announced new indictments against two BP supervisors for manslaughter and a former BP executive for hiding information from Congress and lying to law enforcement officials.
The settlement would resolve the British oil giant’s criminal liability over the disaster, the worst-ever oil spill in U.S. waters, but still leaves it to face civil charges in a trial that is set to begin early next year.
In addition to pleading guilty to the 11 felony counts of misconduct or negligence tied to the rig workers’ deaths, BP also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count each under the Clean Water Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act and one felony count of obstruction of Congress for lying about how much oil was leaking out of the ruptured Macondo well.
The $4.5 billion settlement includes $1.256 billion in criminal fines, $2.394 billion that will be paid to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and $350 million that will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences. BP also agreed to a civil penalty of $525 million in its resolution with the SEC.