BP to pay record fine for Gulf oil spill

BP will pay a record U.S. fine to settle criminal claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a Department of Justice official said Thursday.
Details of the BP settlement would be revealed later Thursday when Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to join federal and local officials in New Orleans for an announcement.
The largest U.S. criminal fine was a $1.3 billion payment by drugmaker Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) in 2009, part of a $2.3 billion settlement in a case involving the misbranding of Bextra, an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug.
The London-based oil company said earlier that negotiations with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission were “advanced.” The company had no further comment.
Any settlement would be subject to federal judicial review, and would not absolve the company of civil claims. In addition, BP (BP) still faces a potential fine from the U.S. federal government tied to environmental damages in the Gulf.
The fine comes on top of $20 billion the company has agreed to pay into a trust fund to meet damage claims from the spill. It said it expects to pay a final $860 million into that fund this quarter.
BP reported a $17.2 billion loss in the quarter when the explosion took place. But it has been profitable since then, booking total profits of $43 billion over the course of those nine quarters.
The Gulf oil spill, with millions of barrels of oil to contaminate the Gulf of Mexico was one of the worst oil spills in history.
No criminal charges have yet been filed, and a major civil trial set to take place in New Orleans has been delayed until February 2013.
– CNN News

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