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BP accused of greed, lax safety at US oil spill trial

Published on Feb 26, 2013 6:11 AM
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 25: Activists holds signs during a protest in front of the Hale Boggs Federal Building on the first day of the trial over the Deep Water Horizon oil rig spill on February 25, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. 11 men were killed during the accident and over 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) - Prosecutors accused BP of letting greed triumph over safety on Monday in the opening of a multi-billion dollar trial over the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

A federal judge in New Orleans is tasked with determining how much BP and its subcontractors should pay for the worst environmental disaster in US history.

US prosecutors are determined to prove that gross negligence caused the April 20, 2010 blast that killed 11 workers and sank the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig, sending millions of barrels of oil gushing into the sea.

The US government plans to introduce ample evidence of "systemic problems of corporate recklessness" and how a "culture of disregard to safety" led to the blowout, said Mr Michael Underhill, lead trial counsel for the United States. "Reckless actions were tolerated, sometimes encouraged by BP to squeeze every dollar," he told the court.

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