Sources tell Bloomberg News that federal prosecutors may pursue “Seaman’s Manslaughter” charges against BP managers for their role in last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion.
The investigation is looking into if managers knew the rig was unsafe prior to the explosion… charges which could carry up to 10 years in prison. Legal analysts told Bloomberg that going after individual employees stands to change the way investigators approach environmental safety cases. “They typically don’t prosecute employees of large corporations,” University of Maryland law professor Jane Barrett remarked, adding that targeting individuals could “maximize, and not lose, the deterrent effect.”But it would also be harder to mount a case against them, and, critics say, a misplaced effort. “You have relatively low-level people in these companies responsible for making bad decisions,” said David Uhlmann, a former chief of the Justice Department’s environmental crimes section.”It’s not clear they had adequate training. It’s not clear they all knew what everyone else involved knew.”
Looking higher up the chain of command, prosecutors are also investigating whether BP executives made statements before Congress that were at odds with what they knew about the spill.
No word if individual employees of Transocean will be brought up on charges but the financial market suggests they may be in the clear as Transocean’s stock climbed 2.49% in tuesday trading alongside BP’s fall of 2.54%.
Read the full story over at Bloomberg.
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