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Tag: BP

Former FBI Agent Takes Key Role in Oversight of Billions of Dollars in Settlement Money from BP Oil Spill

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A former FBI agent will oversee the Deepwater Horizon Court-Supervised Settlement Program, which is responsible for paying out billions of dollars in private claims following the 2010 BP oil spill the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

That job goes to David Welker, who served as special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans office until he retired in April 2012.

David Welker

Before the promotion, Welker was the claims program’s director of fraud, waste and abuse, a position he had held since June 2012.

Ex-FBI Director Freeh Investigating Attorney Tied to BP’s Multibillion-Dollar Settlement

Louis Freeh

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh was appointed by federal judges to investigate a court-supervised administrator of BP’s multibillion-dollar settlement, the Associated Press reports.

Freeh, a private consultant, was named a “special master” by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier.

Freeh is to investigate whether an attorney on the staff of claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, received inappropriate payments.

The AP reported that Juneau is accused of receiving a portion of the settlement proceeds before he started working on the deal.

Justice Dept. Whacks BP: Company to Pay Record $4.5 billion Fine, and 3 People Criminally Charged

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department whacked BP Exploration and Production Inc.

The company agreed to plead guilty to felony manslaughter, environmental crimes and obstruction of Congress and pay a record $4.5 billion in criminal fines and penalties for its roll in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday.

The 14-count information, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, charges BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of Congress, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts.

“The $4 billion in penalties and fines is the single largest criminal resolution in the history of the United States and constitutes a major achievement toward fulfilling a promise that the Justice Department made nearly two years ago to respond to the consequences of this epic environmental disaster and seek justice on behalf of its victims,” said Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “We specifically structured this resolution to ensure that more than half of the proceeds directly benefit the Gulf Coast region so that residents can continue to recover and rebuild.”

“The oil spill was catastrophic for the environment, but by hiding its severity BP also harmed another constituency – its own shareholders and the investing public who are entitled to transparency, accuracy and completeness of company information, particularly in times of crisis,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Division of Enforcement. “Good corporate citizenship and responsible crisis management means that a company can’t hide critical information simply because it fears the backlash.”

Additionally,  Robert M. Kaluza, 62, of Henderson, Nev., and Donald J. Vidrine, 65, of Lafayette, La. – the highest-ranking BP supervisors onboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, 2010 – were charged with allegedly engaging in negligent and grossly negligent conduct in a 23-count indictment charging violations of the federal involuntary manslaughter and seaman’s manslaughter statutes and the Clean Water Act.

David I. Rainey, 58, of Houston – a former BP executive who served as a Deputy Incident Commander and BP’s second-highest ranking representative at Unified Command during the spill response – is charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials.

Read Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.’s Statement

 

Justice Department Investigates BP for Allegedly Lying to Congress

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has estimated that about 4.1 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by BP in 2010 were never cleaned up.

Now the Justice Department is investigating whether BP execs lied to Congress about the total amount of oil leaked, reported the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The accidental explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and ruptured the Macondo well. It took months to successfully cap the well as engineers scrambled desperately to contain the powerful force of spewing oil.

To read more click here.

Fed Prosecutors Looking Into Possible Manslaughter Charges Against BP Managers

By Justin Blum and Alison Fitzgerald
Bloomberg

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors are considering whether to pursue manslaughter charges against BP Plc (BP/) managers for decisions made before the Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion last year that killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history, according to three people familiar with the matter.

U.S. investigators also are examining statements made by leaders of the companies involved in the spill — including former BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward — during congressional hearings last year to determine whether their testimony was at odds with what they knew, one of the people said. All three spoke on condition they not be named because they weren’t authorized to discuss the case publicly.

Charging individuals would be significant to environmental- safety cases because it might change behavior, said Jane Barrett, a law professor at the University of Maryland.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Indicates Criminal Probe to Go Beyond BP

holder eric

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As the disastrous Gulf spill drags on, someone is going to pay big time.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., in an interview with CBS’ Bob Schieffer in Aspen, Col., indicated that the criminal probe may go beyond BP, according to Politico.

“There are a variety of entities and a variety of people who are the subjects of that investigation,” Holder said, according to Politico. “For people to conclude that BP is the focus of this investigation might not be correct.”

Holder declined to say whether BP is the main target. The taping is set to air Sunday.

To read more click here.

New Orleans Times-Picayune Editorial: Justice Dept. Probe Into BP Spill “Necessary Step”

BPBy New Orleans Times-Picayune
Editorial

NEW ORLEANS – The Justice Department’s investigation into possible criminal and civil violations related to BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an important and necessary step.

The more Americans learn about the decisions and missteps that may have contributed to the disaster, the more it seems that a wide range of infractions took place.

Visiting New Orleans Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the criminal probe into the matter has been under way for several weeks. He said FBI agents and personnel from civil branches of the Justice Department have been in Louisiana since shortly after the well’s explosion, collecting documents and other evidence.

Mr. Holder promised a “meticulous, comprehensive and aggressive” inquiry. “We won’t rest until we’re done,” he said.

Residents of the Gulf Coast are owed that much.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. Announces Criminal and Civil Probes in Gulf Spill

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As expected, the Justice Department is going after those involved in the ugliest oil spill in U.S. history.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. announced Tuesday in New Orleans that the Justice Department was launching a criminal and civil probe into the Gulf spill that continues to kill wildlife and livelihoods and is likely to cost the Obama administration some serious political capital.

“As we move forward, we will be guided by simple principles: We will ensure that every cent of taxpayer money will be repaid and damages to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed,” Holder said a in prepared statement posted on the Justice Dept. website.

“We will make certain that those responsible clean up the mess they have made and restore or replace the natural resources lost or injured in this tragedy. And we will prosecute to the full extent any violations of the law.”

In the Rose Garden at the White House, President Obama remarked:

“We owe all those who’ve been harmed, as well as future generations, a full and vigorous accounting of the events that led to what has now become the worst oil spill in U.S. history.”

Read New York Times story

Read Eric Holder’s Statement

Read President Obama’s Statement