Today there is a Federal investigation hearing where Federal investigators will be questioning BP (NYSE:BP) executives and managers, as well as rig owner Transocean's (NYSE:RIG) Ltd. There is a panel set to hold the hearings, and each company will be explaining disabled safety systems as well as failures of the well design, causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The combined Interior Department - U.S. Coast Guard investigation has already had three hearings. The prior hearings have taken place in Louisiana where a massive amount of testimony has already been heard. This time, the hearing moves to Houston, where there are several offices of companies involved with the disaster, including BP.
There is much significance to these hearings and the federal investigation. If criminal misconduct is found to have been a factor by any or all of the oil companies that played a part, the panel can turn over its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice. Who is currently doing their own criminal investigation.
It is possible that a fifth hearing will take place. If so, it won't be until several key pieces are recovered from the bottom of the Gulf, including the blowout preventer. The hearings are very similar to that of a trial. Exhibits are presented, witnesses testify under oath, and there is cross examinations. The finding will be reported in January.
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