It's definitely a change of attitude by the Obama administration that was previously much too cozy with BP. It's also an encouraging sign to see that Attorney General Holder is more focused on actual crimes that have consequences instead of bootlicking for Hollywood. Mistakes certainly happen, but the failure at Deepwater went far beyond any normal mistake. It's about time.
Oil major BP is bracing itself for criminal charges against some of its American employees, amid allegations that it misled regulators on the dangers posed by the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded last year killing 11 employees and unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in US history. A Department of Justice investigation has identified several Houston-based engineers and at least one BP supervisor it expects to charge in the New Year, according to reports yesterday. The US Attorney-General Eric Holder announced a criminal investigation at the height of the public outcry over the spill, which sent BP shares plunging and even called into question whether it could survive as a company. To date, the British oil giant has taken $41bn (£26.7bn) in charges to cover the cost of the spill, including legal claims against it that will hit the courts in 2012. BP refused to comment on the reports of impending criminal charges against individuals, who could face up to five years in prison if they are found guilty of providing false information in federal documents. The latest developments in the criminal investigation were first reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal.If only Holder could muster up the energy to step away from an Obama Wall Street fundraiser and take the same action against Wall Street.