Oil company BP just plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the 2010 Gulf Oil spill and will pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil. The formal announcement was made earlier this morning by company executives. BP will also pay $525 million in civil penalties over six years under an agreement with the Securities and Exchanges Commission. This makes it the largest-ever penalty in a criminal case in history, far exceeding even the $1 billion payment by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a drug marketing prosecution (Pfizer paid an additional $1 billion in civil penalties).
BP states that over half of that $4 billion criminal fine will go to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) over a period of five years, while $350 million will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) over the next five years.
The company also stated that:
“As part of the resolution, BP has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of Misconduct or Neglect of Ships Officers relating to the loss of 11 lives; one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress. This resolution is subject to U.S. federal court approval.”
The conviction marks an end to the long-running criminal investigation with the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, but will not cover civil environmental damages under the Clean Water Act.
Eleven workers were killed in the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, triggering one of the biggest environmental disasters in history. Scientists are still studying affects to fish, birds, other wildlife, and the marine habitat of the Gulf region.
Worker Fatality Lawsuit
News sources are also now reporting that four BP employees will be charged with felonies in relation to the BP oil spill. The individuals facing manslaughter charges include BP well managers Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza for negligence that lead to the death of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig. David Rainey, a high-ranking official who served as head of Gulf of Mexico exploration, will be charged with intentionally misleading lawmakers about the extent of the spill. One additional BP employee faces insider trading charges. Previously, only the BP engineer Kurt Mix was criminally charged with obstruction of justice for deleting text messages related to the spill immediately after the accident.
Seattle Wrongful Death and Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
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