Update: BP, company officials charged with manslaughter:

Attorney General Eric Holder announced indictments against BP and the two highest-ranking supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig. The pair were charged with 23 counts of criminal wrongdoing, including manslaughter, connected to the deaths of the 11 people killed in the 2010 explosion.

The firm has also agreed to pay $4.5 billion in damages.

More here.
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BP will pay a record U.S. fine to settle criminal claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to news reports Thursday morning.

As many as four staff members from the British oil company BP will be arrested and the company will be fined between $3 billion and $5 billion to settle criminal and other claims with U.S. agencies over the Gulf of Mexico well blowout two years ago, the BBC reported Thursday.

The largest U.S. criminal fine ever was a $1.3 billion payment by drugmaker Pfizer in 2009, part of a $2.3 billion settlement in a case involving the misbranding of Bextra, an anti-inflammatory arthritis drug.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and released millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

It is not yet known what sort of criminal charges the BP staff would face, but details of the BP settlement would be revealed later Thursday when Attorney General Eric Holder is to join federal and local officials in New Orleans for an official announcement, DOJ officials told CNN.

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