Fears BP oil spill cash being taken by conmen
Oil giant BP could have paid out millions of pounds to fraudsters after US authorities began investigating fraudulent compensations claims following the Gulf of Mexico spill.
BP has paid out more than $300 million so far, and committed a further $20 billion, but fears over the amount of commercial fishing licenses issued have prompted an investigation.
During the period of the oil spill about 2,200 more commercial-scale fishing licenses have been issued than for the same period in 2009.
This is despite the fact many fishing areas are closed and has prompted US authorities to investigate potentially fraudulent claims.
Speaking to the BBC this morning Louisiana fisherman Pete Vujnovich explained that a simple piece of paper entitled the holder to compensation.
He said: "I was approached by two individuals asking me to sign a document saying they had worked for me. I'd not seen those two individuals in my life and of course I didn't sign."
BP has set up a trust and made a $3 billion initial deposit of the $20 billion escrow account to pay 'legitimate' claims arising from the accident which led to the oil and gas spill.
"The purpose of the escrow account was to assure those adversely affected by the spill that we indeed intend to stand behind our commitment to them and to the American taxpayers," said Bob Dudley, the chief executive in waiting of BP.
"Establishing this trust and making the initial deposit ahead of schedule further demonstrates our commitment to making it right in the Gulf Coast."