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BP calls for payouts halt, fears 'fictitious' claims

BP calls for payouts halt, fears 'fictitious' claims
BP has appealed to a New Orleans Court to temporary halt Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement payments until the investigation into alleged fraud is complete.

The company is concerned that it is being forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to local businesses while their appeals can be "tainted by fraud, corruption and malfeasance".

Earlier this month, former FBI director Louis Freeh was appointed to investigate alleged misconduct by a lawyer who was processing damage claims.

“No company would agree to bear the risk of improper payments in these circumstances. BP is simply seeking to pause payments while Judge Freeh completes his court-ordered investigation”, - Geoff Morrell, the energy firm's spokesman, said in a statement.

Originally the compensation sum was estimated at about $7.8billion, but the company complains the final figure has turned out to be much higher because of false claims.

BP has already paid out $14 billion  to restore the environment and over $11billion more to restore the local economy.

However, the energy company’s challenges to the settlement have met a cold response from coastal residents. "BP is more concerned about keeping its bottom line than it is about keeping its word”, - Jim Hood, Mississippi Attorney General wrote  in The Times-Picayune Daily. He also stressed he "has faith that fairness will win out in the end".

A US court is now considering BP’s request to halt the settlement payouts to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who were affected by the disaster.

The 2010 fatal explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig claimed the lives of 11 workers, and about 4.9 million barrels of oil leaked from the rig over 87 days.