Oil Spill

Judge Denies BP Effort to Halt Spill Payments

Investigations into kickbacks by folks handling the fund

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A federal judge on Friday denied BP PLC's request to freeze payments from its oil-spill settlement fund while former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Louis Freeh investigates alleged wrongdoing by fund lawyers.

BP contended that two lawyers working for the court-supervised fund that is handling damage payments stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill appeared to be taking kickbacks from a law firm whose clients had filed claims.

Because the two fund lawyers made decisions about how claims were processed, BP lawyers said in court Friday, they could have manipulated payments to the detriment of the company.