U.S. unlikely to settle with BP

June 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

NEW ORLEANS, June 11 (UPI) -- It's unlikely U.S. officials would accept a smaller penalty from BP to settle claims for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a former federal lawyer said.

The Financial Times reported that sources "familiar with discussions" between BP and the government say the British company is seeking to pay less than $15 billion to settle civil and criminal claims tied to the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The government, however, is seeking damages closer to $25 billion.

David Uhlmann, the former director of the environmental crimes division at the U.S. Justice Department, told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune that a settlement was unlikely.

"The government isn't going to simply accept whatever BP is offering," he said.

He said both sides would likely settle at around $20 billion, which is on top of billions of dollars already paid by BP for the spill.

The report suggests a decision would come before September in an effort to avoid politicizing the issue ahead of November elections in the United States.

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