Oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. According to Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, half of the record-breaking $4.5 billion criminal settlement will head directly to Gulf Coast states impacted by the spill.
As part of the settlement, BP also agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect related to the deaths of 11 people in the Deepwater Horizon accident, which released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf throughout the course of three months.
The Justice Department also filed criminal charges against three BP employees, two of whom are charged with manslaughter in connection with each of the men who died, alleging that they were negligent in supervising tests before the well blowout and explosion that destroyed the rig.
According to a New York Times article, "Prosecutors also charged BP's former vice president for exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, David Rainey, with obstruction of Congress and making false statements about the rate at which oil was spilling from the well."