Attorney General Eric Holder also announced a separate 23-count criminal indictment — including charges of seaman’s and involuntary manslaughter — against the two top-ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig where a blowout occurred April 20, 2010, sinking the rig and killing 11 workers. Holder also announced an indictment against David Rainey, a BP vice president, for hiding information from Congress and lying to law enforcement officials about the rate at which oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP said it would increase its existing $38.1 billion charge against earnings for the spill by $3.85 billion.
The settlement resolves a variety of criminal charges. BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships’ officers relating to the loss of 11 lives on the drilling rig that caught fire and sank; 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. BP said that the last of those is related to misreporting to a member of Congress the rate at which oil was gushing into the gulf.
So far BP has spent $14 billion responding to and cleaning up the spill. It has also paid out $9 billion mostly to individuals and businesses. Additional private civil claims are being pursued in a separate lawsuit in a New Orleans federal court, where a settlement that BP estimates will cost $7.8 billion is being finalized.
The BP settlement with the Justice Department is not expected to cover other companies involved in the April 20, 2010 accident, including rig owner and operator TransOcean and cement contractor Halliburton. (Wash Post, 11/15/2012