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BP to pay $4 billion in oil spill settlement

If there's any one thing that business owners enjoy the least it's having to plead their case in front of a judge when being held accountable for an accident. Such was the case for BP who, for the last three years, has been struggling to right the wrongs from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers.

To resolve issues of liability, BP is already estimated to have paid out more than $24 billion to clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Gulf states that were affected by the oil rig disaster. But after pleading guilty to charges of manslaughter during a January trial, the company is expected to pay out much more by the end of 2013.

As part of the plea agreement made with U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Vance, BP is required to pay out approximately $4 billion in fines and penalties. Nearly $1.3 billion of that will likely go towards fines, which is said to be the largest corporate criminal penalty since the $1.2 billion fine against Pfizer in 2009.

Additional payments are also scheduled to be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences, both receiving $2.4 billion and $350 million respectively.

Although BP has wrapped up the last of the criminal proceedings with the Justice Department, it could still face civil suits in the future, leading some experts to think that further settlements could cost the company billions more by the end of the year.

Source: The Boston Globe, "$4B fine OK'd by judge in BP spill," Michael Kunzelman, Jan. 30, 2013

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