Judge rejects BP’s latest request to halt oil spill payments

A federal judge Wednesday denied BP’s latest request for an injunction to halt payments from its multibillion-dollar settlement with victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP has repeatedly tried to halt payments from last year’s settlement. In its latest effort, it cited allegations of potential fraud in the claims process.

But U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said in his ruling filed in federal court in New Orleans there is no basis to suspend the entire claims payment process, even if there may have been conflicts of interest involving a few attorneys processing some of the claims.

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An investigator for claims administrator Patrick Juneau said recently that he investigated the fraud allegation presented by an informant who called a fraud hotline that BP set up, but he found no evidence of fraud.

BP said in a statement after Barbier’s ruling that it believes “the court’s order is wrong on the facts and the law” and the company is reviewing its legal options.

BP, meanwhile, is awaiting a ruling from a federal appeals court on its challenge of the way claims for business losses are being calculated.