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BP Settles with US for $4.5 Billion in Gulf Spill

2:01 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Oil giant BP says it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a wide-ranging settlement with the U.S. government over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based multinational company said in a statement Thursday it agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges including 11 felony counts of misconduct related to the deaths of 11 men in the rig explosion that triggered the oil spill. It also agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of obstruction of Congress.

The settlement total of $4.5 billion over five years includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines - the largest such penalty ever - along with payments to several government agencies.

Meanwhile, 2 BP employees have been indicted on manslaughter charges in the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster.

The federal indictment unsealed Thursday in New Orleans names BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine. The indictment claims they acted negligently in their supervision of key safety tests performed on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig before an explosion killed 11 workers in April 2010.

The indictment says Kaluza and Vidrine failed to phone engineers onshore to alert them of problems in the drilling operation.

The charges come on the same day that BP announced that it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the U.S. government to plead guilty to felony counts related to the deaths of 11 workers and lying to Congress.

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