Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anatole of France Lives-2

"BP PLC put a host of legal threats behind it with far-reaching federal settlements yesterday and $373 million in fines and restitution. ... In the largest manipulation settlement in the history of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, BP will pay $303 million in criminal and civil penalties and restitution for driving up the price of propane in 2004. BP will pay $50 million in connection with the deadly 2005 explosion at BP's refinery in Texas City, Texas, in the largest fine ever assessed against a corporation under the Clean Air Act. ... Rep. John Dingell, the Michigan Democrat ... criticized the size of the $50 million Texas City fine. 'I note with curiosity that when an average citizen commits a felony, it usually leads to a prison sentence,' he said also citing the company's profitability", WSJ, 26 October.

Another job well done by the Justice Department. Last year BP earned $22 billion. BP's total fines were 1.6% of this. Imagine, some poor slob with a few crack rocks can be sent to prison for ten years. Some justice. Imagine if an armed robber could avoid prison by agreeing to pay a nominal fine. That's the way it works here.

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