BP to pay $4.5b over Gulf of Mexico spill

BP has agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion to settle criminal charges stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and released millions of barrels of crude oil into the gulf.

The $4.5 billion settlement is the biggest criminal penalty in US history.

The oil giant has also agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts, relating to the workers' deaths.

The Department of Justice has imposed the fine, which is to be paid over five years.

The BP chairman says the resolution is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

The fine will not cover civil and state claims for economic losses.

A civil trial to determine negligence starts in New Orleans in February.

BP's internal investigation in the aftermath of the explosion found no single cause, rather "multiple companies, work teams and circumstances were involved over time".

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