10/21/2014

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Judge refuses to suspend BP spill settlement payments

Judge refuses to suspend BP spill settlement payments
In this April 21, 2010 file aerial photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. A federal probe has found that a trapped piece of drill pipe prevented a blowout preventer from properly sealing to stop last year's massive Gulf oil spill. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge has rejected BP's latest request to suspend settlement payments to Gulf Coast residents and businesses while a former FBI director leads an independent investigation of the program, which compensates victims of the company's 2010 oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's order Wednesday says an internal probe by the claims administrator's office didn't find credible evidence of fraud involving employees of the settlement program's claims center in Mobile, Ala.

BP said it received a tip that someone who worked at the center helped people submit fraudulent claims in exchange for some of the settlement money.

In July, Barbier rejected an earlier request by BP to suspend payments after appointing former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate possible misconduct by a lawyer who worked on the settlement program.
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