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Originally published November 15, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Page modified November 15, 2012 at 3:56 PM

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Largest criminal fines against companies in the US

BP said Thursday it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the federal government over the April 2010 explosion of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. The agreement includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines, with the rest of the money going to several government-related entities. The criminal fine is the largest in U.S. history and eclipses a 2009 fine against drug-maker Pfizer Inc.

The Associated Press

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BP said Thursday it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the federal government over the April 2010 explosion of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. The agreement includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines, with the rest of the money going to several government-related entities. The criminal fine is the largest in U.S. history and eclipses a 2009 fine against drug-maker Pfizer Inc.

Here's a look at the largest criminal fines assessed against companies in the U.S., according to the Justice Department:

1. $1.256 billion in criminal fines, November 2012, against BP PLC for various charges related to the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill. An estimated 172 million gallons of crude spilled into the Gulf, fouling marshes and beaches, killing wildlife and closing vast areas to fishing. Eleven workers died in the blast. The spill was the nation's worst offshore oil disaster.

2. $1.195 billion, October 2009, against Pfizer Inc. as part of a settlement of criminal and civil allegations that it promoted the anti-inflammatory drug Bextra for uses and dosages the Food and Drug Administration had rejected because of safety concerns.

3. $956.8 million, plus $43.2 million in forfeitures, October 2010, as part of a GlaxoSmithKline PLC settlement for misbranding the drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin and for failing to report post-approval studies of the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration.

4. $700 million, May 2012, against Abbott Laboratories Inc. as part of a settlement for unlawful promotion of the prescription drug Depakote.

5. $515 million fine and $100 million forfeiture, January 2009, against Eli Lilly and Co. as part of a settlement for off-label marketing of antipsychotics.

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