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First criminal charges filed for BP oil spill

26 April 2012

The first criminal charges relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been filed by the US justice department.

The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April 2011 killing 11 people and resulted in more than 200 million gallons of crude oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico.

Kurt Mix, a former BP engineer involved in efforts to cap the well has been arrested and faces 2 counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence requested by US authorities. The evidence, in the form of text messages to a supervisor, allegedly revealed that the company’s efforts to control the oil spill were failing and that the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico was more than the company had reported to officials.

This represents the first criminal claim brought against any workers involved in the accident or its aftermath. If convicted Mr Mix could potentially face 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (roughly £155,000) for each count.

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