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If a Corporation (BP) Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Who Goes to Prison?

Published: February 1, 2013
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Source: All Gov.

Tony Hayward, BP CEO at time of Deepwater Horizon explosion

Pleading guilty to killing someone usually means going to prison…unless the perpetrator is a corporation.

This week, BP agreed to 11 counts of manslaughter for the workers killed during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, when the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew up.

But no one from the oil giant will serve time for the convictions. Instead, BP will pay a $4 billion fine, which is equivalent to what the company made in revenue every four days last year.

Also, BP will have five years to pay the fine. This news left some family members of those killed on the rig feeling bitter.

“I think BP is the real winner today,” Chris Jones, whose brother, Gordon Jones, was killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, told the Houston Chronicle. “They got what they wanted—to resolve the criminal charges,” he added, “and they get a nice five-year payment plan to pay it off.”

In addition to the 11 felony manslaughter counts, BP’s plea deal included one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstructing Congress by deliberately understating the amount of oil that flowed after the blowout.

-Noel Brinkerhoff 

To Learn More:

BP Plea In Gulf Spill Case Okd By Judge (by Conrad Bibens, Houston Chronicle)

BP Wins Final Approval of Guilty Plea Over Gulf Oil Spill (by Jef Feeley and Allen Johnson Jr., Bloomberg)

BP Slithers away with Light Penalty for Gulf Explosion and Oil Spill Disaster (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Why No Prison for Banksters Who Caused Financial Crisis…Yet? (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

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