NEW ORLEANS Oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling $4.5 billion, for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP also said Thursday that it has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts related to workers' deaths.
The payments will be made in installments to the U.S. Department of Justice over a period five years, the London-based company said in a statement. BP will also pay to $525 million to settle charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The London-based company pleaded to a total of 14 charges including 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships officers and one count of obstruction of congress.
The Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, sank after the April 20, 2010, explosion. The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.
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Information for this article was contributed by Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.