Obstruction charge dismissed against BP’s Deepwater Horizon exec

21 May 2013 21:21  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing a federal judge’s decision to dismiss an obstruction of a Congressional inquiry charge against a former BP executive during an investigation into the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

DOJ public affairs specialist Peter Carr declined to comment further on the case that accuses former BP vice president of oil exploration David Rainey of manipulating internal flow rate and spill volume and withholding data that contradicted with public estimates.

According to the court documents, the judge granted the defence’s motion to dismiss the obstruction charge because the US House of Representatives subcommittee failed to allege knowledge of a pending Congressional investigation and because the law that Rainey allegedly violated did not apply to subcommittee investigations.

Rainey still faces a charge of making false statements to law enforcement officials.

A trial is scheduled for 15 October.

Separately, Deepwater Horizon onsite managers Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are charged with 11 counts of involuntary manslaughter, 11 counts of seaman’s slaughter and violation of the Clean Water Act.

Former BP engineer Kurt Mix also faces criminal charges for destroying text messages and voice mails related to the spill.

In addition, BP is preparing for the second phase of the federal civil trial, which determines liability and penalties from the incident.

Already, BP has agreed to a $4bn (€3bn) criminal settlement, as well as a $525m civil settlement for claims made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company has also reached an economic- and property-damage settlement with several people and businesses who sued the company following the spill, with claim payouts totalling over $8.7bn.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Tracy Dang
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