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Just in case you forgot, or wondered what the government was doing:

U.S. prosecutors are preparing what would be the first criminal charges against BP PLC employees stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, said people familiar with the matter.

But is it really BP that's going to face the wrath?

BP will most certainly have some named, but it appears some of the harshest prosecution may go to outside contractors, engineers who signed off on the quality and current upkeep of the rig who will face the harshest potential penalties.

Prosecutors are focused on several Houston-based engineers and at least one of their supervisors at the British oil company, though the breadth of the investigation isn't known. The prosecutors assert the employees may have provided false information to regulators about the risks associated with the Gulf of Mexico well while its drilling was in progress, these people said.

The Gulf of Mexico spill accounts for one of the largest in US history with a payoff that boiled down into something that might occur more frequently in the Showtime series "House of Lies".  

BP has the financial flexibility to weather most storms. Despite its hefty spill-related spending, BP's cash pile more than doubled in 2010, to $18.6 billion. Free cash flow will likely be another $8 billion to $10 billion this year at current oil-price levels, estimates Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. Gheit figures BP has a breakup value of $300 billion,

Slate concludes though that this may all be a bit of a pressure tactic in order to force them to be more forthcoming with information regarding the spill:

The felony charges could come early next year. If they involve providing false info in federal documents, they carry a penalty of up to five years in prison. Still, the paper concedes, the Justice Department may not press charges and could instead be using the threat of dosing so to pressure people to cooperate.

I have one major problem with that:  If you've had nearly 2 years to come forward and explain what happened, then, really.. I'm trying to think of the last time I destroyed massive amounts of public property and had two years to make outrageous profits and "stew about it" before Pressure came to come up with the right thing

I want to go back to a prior diary and just say again, congrats BP for their record profits last year, and you're on the track for more this year.   Don't worry this felony wrap won't last long.

Prior diary on BP Profits:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 08:56:19 AM PST

  •  I'll believe they are serious... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oortdust, dark daze

    ... when I see a few of the big guns looking at jail time and large chunks of their ill gotten wealth gone.  But it looks like a number of 3rd level people are going to the cross for BP sins.

    The only shame in ignorance is when one takes pride in it. .......{- 8.25 / -5.64}

    by carver on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 09:08:03 AM PST

  •  They need to find a way to go after the culture (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LaughingPlanet, oortdust

    of shortcuts and production before people and the enviroment attitude that has been amply demonstrated to exist at BP going back at least to its refinery fire in Texas a few years ago.

    That culture comes from the very highest levels in the company.  That is where ultimate responsibility needs to come home to rest.  Firing the then top guy does not qualify as "taking responsibility", because he still walks free among us.

    Republicans are like alligators. All mouth and no ears.

    by Ohiodem1 on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 09:29:54 AM PST

    •  Imprisoning the 65k a year engineer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Who was likely pressured into a conclusion or overworked though, that will sure show 'em!

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Thu Dec 29, 2011 at 09:31:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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