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Former BP worker arrested for allegedly deleting iPhone evidence

Engineer who worked on the Deepwater Horizon disaster has been accused of deleting messages relating to

A FORMER BP worker has been arrested in the US on suspicion of obstructing justice for allegedly destroying evidence relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

An explosion on the operated rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 killed 11 workers and caused a major oil spill in the region which became America’s largest environmental disaster.

Former BP drilling and completions project engineer Kurt Mix of Katy, Texas has been charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, according to the US Department of Justice.

Attorney General Eric Holder said that the charges relate to the alleged deletion of records relating to the amount of oil flowing from the well after the explosion.

The Department of Justice said that Mix was involved in internal BP efforts to estimate the amount of oil leaking from the well and to work on stopping the leak. It says BP notified him a number of times to keep all information regarding the situation, including text messages, but that he allegedly deleted a text string from his iPhone which contained over 200 messages exchanged with a BP supervisor after he learned that his electronic files would be sought by BP’s lawyers.

“The deleted texts, some of which were recovered forensically, included sensitive internal BP information collected in real-time as the Top Kill operation was occurring, which indicated that Top Kill was failing,” the department said.

‘Top Kill’ was the name of BP’s (failed) attempt to stop the spill by pumping mud into the well and then forcing debris down on top to stem the oil flow.

If convicted, Mix faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for  each count brought against him.‪

In a statement, BP said it is “cooperating with the Department of Justice and other official investigations into the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill”.

“BP had clear policies requiring preservation of evidence in this case and has undertaken substantial and ongoing efforts to preserve evidence,” it adds, but notes that it will not comment on the case involving Mix.

BP recently agreed a $7.8 billion compensation settlement with over 100,000 people affected by the disaster. At the time of that agreement, the US Department of Justice said that federal authorities would continue to work with the affected states “to ensure that any resolution of the federal law enforcement and damage claims, including natural resources damages, arising out of this unprecedented environmental disaster is just, fair and restores the Gulf for the benefit of the people of the Gulf states.”

“The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in US history,” Attorney General Holder said after yesterday’s arrest.

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