Despite recent marginally high-profile claims that allegedly unscrupulous individuals were taking advantage of the claims process related to the massive 2010 environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge in New Orleans on Wednesday rejected the attempts of BP plc (BP) to suspend settlement payments to residents of the Southern US coastline affected by the oil spill.
US District Judge Carl Barbier said that the results of an internal investigation by the claims administrator’s office found that there was no substance to allegations made by the world's fifth largest oil major that an employee, or several employees, were helping to submit fraudulent claims in return for a cut of the settlement money.
BP had made a similar request in July, after the company had hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to look into one of the lawyers involved in the settlement payment program, but it had also been rejected by Barbier.
The company has been hobbled with the consequences of an explosion at its Deepwater Horizon well in 2010 that unleashed untold quantities of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying homes, businesses, and ecosystems along the coastline. The company claims to have already paid out more than $4 billion in settlements as a result of the disaster, and has been struggling under the weight of legal fees.
More or less in keeping with the performance of other major integrated oil and gas companies, BP’s stock is up 3.4 percent in 2013, currently trading for $42.17 per share.