A US court has ordered British oil giant BP to pay over $130 million to settle claims of Gulf Coast businesses and residents who lost money in the company’s 2010 oil spill, a media report said.

US District Judge Carl Barbier announced the ruling on Wednesday, as BP tried to temporarily block claims payments while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigated allegations of misconduct by an attorney who worked on the settlement programme, reported Xinhua citing NOLA media group.

BP said on Monday it has uncovered new allegations of fraud in the settlement programme that has given billions of dollars to Gulf Coast businesses and residents.

BP has launched a hotline last month for people to report allegations of fraud relating to its settlement programme.

The company said it has spent $14 billion on response and cleanup to help restore the environment so far. BP has also paid more than 300,000 claims totalling over $11 billion to help restore the Gulf economy.

The company initially estimated the settlement deal would cost about $7.8 billion. That grew to $8.5 billion. In March, BP said in a regulatory filing that “no reliable estimate can be made of any business economic loss claims”.


BP executive testifies at Gulf oil spill trial February 27, 2013