BP asks US judge for temporary halt to Gulf of Mexico payments

FTSE 100-listed oil giant BP has asked a US judge to temporarily halt payments to people and businesses who say they lost money after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

BP said in a New Orleans court filing that a “brief pause” is necessary until an investigation into alleged misconduct over the settlement claims is complete.

“There is a material risk that payments going out the door have been and continue to be tainted by possibly fraudulent or corrupt activity,” said BP spokesman Geoff Morrell. “No company would agree to bear the risk of improper payments in these circumstances.”

Former FBI director Louis Freeh was appointed on 2 July to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of improprieties within the settlement programme. BP’s shares closed 0.28 per cent up.