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‘BP Squad’ Conducting Criminal Oil Spill Investigation

It seems like something out of a movie. The Washington Post reports this morning that the “BP squad” — a group of FBI agents and federal officials from the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and others — is launching a criminal investigation into the activities of BP, Transocean and Halliburton with regards to the April explosion at the Deepwater Horizon well and the resulting oil spill.

According to today’s Post story:

While it was known that investigators are examining potential violations of environmental laws, it is now clear that they are also looking into whether company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig’s failed blowout preventer. It is unclear whether any such evidence has surfaced.

One emerging line of inquiry, sources said, is whether inspectors for the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency charged with regulating the oil industry — which is itself investigating the disaster — went easy on the companies in exchange for money or other inducements. A series of federal audits has documented the MMS’s close relationship with the industry.

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