Headlines: DOJ – settlement reached with BP
November 15, 2012
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DOJ – settlement reached with BP
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that it reached an agreement with BP to settle criminal charges related to the 2010 explosion and fire on the MODU Deepwater Horizon, the deaths of eleven persons on the MODU, and the subsequent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has agreed to plead guilty to eleven felony charges, and one misdemeanor charge each under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The company will also plead guilty to one count of obstruction of Congress. BP will pay $4 billion (the largest ever in a criminal settlement) and an additional $525 million to resolve claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The criminal penalty will be paid over a period of five years. The company will also serve a term of probation for five years. The criminal settlement, which must be approved by the court, does not resolve other pending disputes, including government claims for environmental damage and economic loss, civil penalties for the oil spill, and those third-party damage claims that were not part of the recent civil settlement. The eleven felony counts to which BP is pleading guilty were brought under the Seaman’s Manslaughter Statute and relate to the eleven persons who died on the MODU Deepwater Horizon. Of the $4 billion financial penalty, $1.256 billion will constitute a criminal fine, $2.394 billion will be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $350 million will go to the National Academy of Sciences. BP has agreed to enhance its risk management processes through such measures as third-party auditing and verification; training; and improved well control equipment and processes, such as blow-out preventers and cementing. The company will also undertake several initiatives with academia and regulators to develop new technologies related to deepwater drilling safety. A second news release states that DOJ filed a 23-count indictment charging BP’s two highest-ranking supervisors onboard the Deepwater Horizon with manslaughter and violation of the FWPCA. It also states that a separate indictment has been filed charging a former senior BP executive, David Rainey, with obstructing a congressional investigation and making false statements to law enforcement officials. (11/15/12).
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Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – November 2012