Judge gives OK for US$4 billion BP oil spill criminal settlement


AP

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department’s criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill Tuesday, when a U.S. judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record US$4 billion in penalties.

What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn’t resolve, though, is the federal government’s civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more for environmental damage from its 2010 spill.

Vance noted that the company already has racked up more than US$24 billion in spill-related expenses and has estimated it will pay a total of US$42 billion to fully resolve its liability for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.