Tuesday, June 01, 2010

But will BP execs be frogmarched?

Spent the day with my brother and his family. Sad that they're leaving tomorrow; it was so great to see them all after so many years. Feeling pretty mellow and not wanting to break the mood with too much bad news, and that's about all there is out there today. But this is sort of encouraging, that is if the investigation actually results in any arrests.
The U.S. government has launched a widely expected criminal and civil investigation into the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday, ratcheting up the pressure on the beleaguered British oil company.
It appears they're going to focus on the environmental laws which appear to be the best bet to hold BP responsible for the clean up costs. But the criminal action looks a little dicey. This sounds a bit like the proverbial sternly worded letter to me.
Additionally, the Justice Department could pursue other traditional charges if they find the companies made false statements or obstructed the investigation. "As our review expands in the days ahead, we will be meticulous, we will be comprehensive, and we will be aggressive," Holder told reporters. "We will not rest until justice is done."
If we're going to see any real justice come out of this, I expect they won't be resting for a very long time. But you never know. Surely, there's plenty of evidence of fraud. This isn't the first time I've heard it suggested BP lied on their applications for the initial permits. And the corporation has a long history of industrial accidents that could easily be linked to cost cutting on safety measures.

Can't say I'm particularly confident that BP won't skate on this anyway though. I can't recall a megacorp taking a hit since Arthur Andersen went down with the Enron scandal and really all that happened is the big accountants consolidated into even bigger corporations. But you never know. Seeing BP go down for its criminal negligence, or even pay a meaningful price for it, would be the kind of change I voted for way back in 08.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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