Deadline set for responses to BP fraud allegations

Court NewsThe Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has set an Aug. 26 deadline for court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau to respond to BP’s allegations that it has uncovered new allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest inside a settlement program that has awarded billions of dollars to Gulf Coast businesses and residents.

In an order Monday, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier indicated he won’t hold a hearing on BP’s latest request for him to suspend settlement payments while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigates alleged misconduct by a lawyer who worked on Juneau’s staff.

Barbier rejected the same request last month, but BP said it only recently learned of new evidence of “more widespread and potentially systemic improprieties” in the settlement program for compensating victims of the company’s 2010 Gulf oil spill.