“The focus is on whether the oil company skirted safety regulations and misled the U.S. government about its ability to respond to a blowout.”
Reporting from Washington — A team of top federal prosecutors and investigators has taken the first steps toward a formal criminal investigation into oil giant BP’s actions before and after the drilling rig disaster off Louisiana.
The investigators, who have been quietly gathering evidence in Louisiana over the last three weeks, are focusing on whether BP skirted federal safety regulations and misled the U.S. government by saying it could quickly clean up an environmental accident.
The team has met with U.S. attorneys and state officials in the Gulf Coast region and has sent letters to executives of BP and Transocean Ltd., the drilling rig owner, warning them against destroying documents or other internal records.
The move by federal prosecutors represents an escalation in the government’s involvement in the oil spill — from coordinating the environmental cleanup to searching for possible criminal violations.”