Eric Holder Announces BP Criminal Investigation

Could we see some executives go to jail? Eric Holder seems to think so. Department of Justice is on the case.

Justin Blum and Aaron Kuriloff write for Bloomberg,

The Justice Department is investigating whether any criminal or civil laws were violated in the BP Plc oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest U.S. spill on record, said Attorney General Eric Holder.

“We will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, anyone who has violated the law,” Holder said. “This disaster is nothing less than a tragedy.”

Holder announced the investigation today at a news conference in New Orleans, the same day President Barack Obama called the spill “the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.” The president said, “My solemn pledge is that we will bring those responsible to justice.”

The spill began after an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig, which London-based BP leased from Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. to drill its Macondo well in the Gulf. Houston-based Halliburton Co. provided oilfield services on the well.

Holder, who said the probe “began some weeks ago,” declined to specify which companies are under investigation. He said he surveyed a portion of the damage, was briefed by Coast Guard officers and met with prosecutors for the areas affected by the spill.

Repaying Taxpayers

The Justice Department will ensure that taxpayer money will be repaid and that damage to the environment and wildlife will be reimbursed, Holder said. The government already has told “all relevant parties” to preserve documents that may “shed light on the facts surrounding this disaster,” Holder said.

BP plunged the most in 18 years in London trading, losing 13 percent to 430 pence. Transocean dropped 12 percent to $50.04 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Halliburton fell 15 percent to $21.15.

read more at Bloomberg

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