BP, the British oil company, said Thursday it would pay $4.5 billion in fines and other payments to the United States government and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago.The payments include a $4 billion fine to be paid over five years, with much of it to go to government environmental agencies, BP said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, BP pleaded guilty to 11 felony misconduct or neglect charges related to the deaths of 11 people in the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, which unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the gulf.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case also said that two BP employees would be charged with manslaughter in the case. The United States attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., was scheduled to hold a news conference in New Orleans later Thursday. ...
Even with a settlement on the criminal claims, BP would still be subject to other claims, including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources.
In particular, this settlement does not include what is potentially the largest penalty: fines under the Clean Water Act. The potential fine for the spill under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. That means the fine could be as much as $21 billion, according to Peter Hutton of RBC Capital Markets in London.