Jury weighing question of whether BP exec lied about 2010 oil spill

viernes 5 de junio de 2015 14:21 GYT

By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS, June 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. federal jury has begun its deliberations on whether a former BP Plc executive lied about how much oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.

Prosecutors and a lawyer for defendant David Rainey made their closing arguments to the jury on Friday morning in a case brought by the government over statements Rainey made to agents from the FBI and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nearly a year after the spill.

Rainey, BP's former vice president of exploration in the Gulf, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if found guilty of willfully making a fraudulent statement to federal law enforcement agents.

The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig led to 11 deaths and the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

Justice Department lawyer Robert Zink said witness testimony and text messages prove that Rainey deliberately understated the flow rate.

On May 24, 2010, Rainey sent a 5,000-barrel-a-day estimate to Congress, terming it BP's "best scientific guess" at the flow rate, Zink said.

A group of government and independent scientists later concluded that more than 60,000 barrels per day were leaking into the Gulf during the relevant time, the Department of Justice said.

Rainey's lawyer, Reid Weingarten, said prosecutors offered no convincing reason why Rainey would lie to investigators.   Continuación...