BP renews request to halt Gulf oil spill settlement payments

BP renewed its request Monday that a federal judge temporarily suspend all payments from its multibillion-dollar Gulf oil spill settlement.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has rejected all previous requests from the British oil giant for a preliminary injunction. A federal appeals court that is currently weighing BP’s challenge of the way the claims administrator is calculating some payouts also denied an injunction request while it makes its decision.

In its latest request filed in federal court in New Orleans, BP again suggested that payouts from the settlement should be halted until former FBI Director Louis Freeh completes his investigation of the claims process that was ordered by Barbier.

Read more: BP takes heat for ads run on Sept. 11

In  a recent report on his findings thus far, Freeh found conflicts of interest and potential criminal wrongdoing by several officials involved in the claims process, but he said claims adminstrator Patrick Juneau has acted ethically at all times.

“Until Special Master Freeh’s work is complete and the settlement program is reformed to address and eliminate the problems identified thus far with  the program, BP is at risk of suffering irreparable harm if fraudulent claims are paid, or monies are otherwise wasted through the payment of unnecessary and inefficiently incurred administrative expenses,” the company argued.

There was no immediate ruling from Barbier.