Company pleads guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter in deaths of 11 workers
BP has agreed to enter guilty pleas and pay $4.5 billion to settle charges of criminal misconduct in the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The London-based company agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges including 11 felony counts of manslaughter 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 for misleading communications to a member about the flow rate of oil from the ruptured well.
2 BP employees also have been indicted on manslaughter charges in the deaths of the workers.
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.
$1.2 billion will be used for coastal restoration projects in Louisiana including a Mississippi River freshwater and sediment diversion.
This plea deal will not resolve any civil charges brought by the government. Civil damages could reach $21 billion if BP were to be found to be negligent in the 2010 disaster that claimed the lives of the workers and created the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
At a news conference in New Orleans, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government intends to prove at a trial beginning in late February that BP was "grossly negligent" in causing the oil spill.