BP p.l.c. (ADR) (NYSE:BP) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced that they have reached agreement, subject to court approval, to settle federal criminal charges and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claims against the company stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. This settlement does not resolve private civil claims, private securities claims or state economic claims; and is not expected to cover other companies involved in the accident such as rig owner and operator TransOcean and cement contractor Halliburton. Additionally, the U.S. continues to pursue claims for civil penalties and environmental damage, and three BP employees have been charged criminally.
The Department of Justice announcement, which can be found here, also includes links to the BP guilty plea and the indictments of the three individuals, among other things. BP’s statement can be found here.
As part of the settlement, BP plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including felony manslaughter, and will pay $4 billion in fines and penalties. The DOJ claims that this is “the largest criminal resolution in United States history.” Additionally, BP will pay $525 million to the SEC to settle that agency’s claims that the company withheld information from investors.
BP has also agreed to “retain a process safety and risk management monitor and an independent auditor, who will oversee BP’s process safety, risk management and drilling equipment maintenance with respect to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. BP is also required to retain an ethics monitor to improve BP’s code of conduct for the purpose of seeking to ensure BP’s future candor with the United States government.”
As to the individuals, the two top BP supervisors on the drilling rig were indicted on 23 counts each – “11 felony counts of seaman’s manslaughter, 11 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and one violation of the Clean Water Act.” Separately, a former BP vice president was charged with one count of obstruction of Congress, and one count of making false statements to law enforcement officials.