BP faces heavy fines in Gulf oil spill settlement

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BP could face as much as $17.6 billion in civil pollution fines and possibly billions of dollars more in criminal penalties as its settlement with businesses and individuals harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill shifts the focus to government claims.

BP last week announced it would pay an estimated $7.8 billion to resolve private plaintiffs’ claims for economic loss, property damage and injuries, according to media reports. The settlement, to be paid from a $20 billion trust for spill victims set up in 2010, doesn’t resolve federal and state government environmental damage claims. BP has set aside $37 billion to cover spill costs.

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