Tuesday, March 29, 2011

BP (BP) Crunched on Possible Manslaughter Charges

Shares of BP (NYSE:BP) are taking a hit today on news managers at the company may be pursued by prosecutors with charges of manslaughter.

Also weighing on the stock is the recent battle with its Russian billionaire partners in TNK-BP and its attempt to partner with Rosneft.

In regard to that situation, brokerage Collins Stewart said its lowering its rating on the company from "Hold" to "Sell."

The manslaughter charges are being talked about by prosecutors from the U.S. now, but officials wouldn't confirm one way or the other whether it is under consideration or not, as sources close to the matter who didn't want to be identified revealed the possible scenario of criminal charges.

Most of that will be determined by whether or not the company is deemed "grossly negligent" in the accident. If they are, not only would that open the door for possible criminal charges, but also for massive fines.

BP was trading at $44.91, down $1.13, or 2.45 percent, as of 11:38 AM EDT.

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