Authorities to Investigate Companies Related to Gulf Oil Disaster

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BPFederal officials plan to investigate at least three companies involved in the Gulf oil spill as a part of a criminal probe that will determine if their relationship with federal regulators contributed to the disaster, The Washington Post reported.

A team of investigators known as the "BP squad" will focus on BP (BP); Transocean (RIG), which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to BP; and Halliburton (HAL). The Washington Post did not name its sources.

The newspaper says the investigators will seek to determine if "company officials made false statements to regulators, obstructed justice or falsified test results for devices such as the rig's failed blowout preventer." It added that it's not know yet if any such evidence has been found. The investigators will also probe, the Post says, if federal regulators "went easy on the companies in exchange for money or other inducements."

The investigators are drawn from federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard.
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