BP's $4.5B Spill Fine Is Biggest in US History

Firm pleads guilty to criminal misconduct
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2012 8:37 AM CST
Updated Nov 15, 2012 11:11 AM CST
BP Spill Fine Will Be History's Biggest
In this file photo made Oct. 25, 2007, the BP logo is seen at a gas station in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Looks like BP will need to reach deep into its pockets to pay its fine over the 2010 Gulf oil spill: a record $4.5 billion to resolve Justice Department and SEC claims, reports the New York Times. CNN reports that the biggest criminal penalty in US history was previously paid by Pfizer, which forked over $1.3 billion in a 2009 deceptive marketing case. BP will also plead guilty to 14 criminal charges related to the spill. It's all part of a DOJ plea bargain that includes a waiver on future prosecution over the charges, Reuters reports.

The charges include 11 felony misconduct or neglect charges in the 11 deaths caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident, and an official says two BP employees will be charged with manslaughter. Federal, state, and private civil claims, including matters relating to the Clean Water Act and states' economic losses, could also cost the company billions, NBC News notes. Federal-versus-state claims could be a matter of contention; already, states have raised concerns that the feds will get an unfair cut of the money. (More BP oil spill stories.)

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