BP believes payments to individuals and companies not harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have inflated payments from the settlement fund from $7.8 billion to $9.4 billion.
The company now blames Patrick Juneau, the special master appointed by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to administer the spill claims.
At the urging of BP, former FBI Director Louis Freeh was appointed by Judge Barbier in mid-2013 to examine alleged fraud and misconduct in the Deepwater Horizon claims office.
While Freeh’s report faulted several officials in the claims office who have since left, it praised Juneau.
Now Geoff Morrell, a BP spokesman, said Freeh’s reports “have uncovered a troubling unprofessional culture at the settlement program, from top management down, that has allowed fraud, misconduct, and unethical behavior to flourish,” the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
BP has written a letter to Freeh, asking him to turn over thousands of documents uncovered during the investigation, “including any related to Mr. Juneau’s knowledge of alleged wrongdoing,” the Wall Street Journal said.
When asked if BP wants Juneau removed, Morrell told the WSJ “the letter speaks for itself.”
“The reports of the Freeh Group confirm I have done my job,” Juneau told the Wall Street Journal. “Any reports to the contrary simply are not correct.”
Steve Herman and Jim Roy, two lawyers for large groups of claimants, said in a statement that BP initially endorsed Juneau for the special master job until the company “realized [it] needed a scapegoat for underestimating the cost of the settlement.”