BP seeks halt to Gulf oil spill settlement payouts

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, left, leaves Federal Court with an unidentified man after meeting with U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Barbier appointed Freeh to investigate alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped run BP's multibillion-dollar settlement fund. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, left, leaves Federal Court with an unidentified man after meeting with U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans, Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Barbier appointed Freeh to investigate alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped run BP's multibillion-dollar settlement fund. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BP has asked a federal judge to temporarily suspend all settlement payments to Gulf Coast businesses and residents who claim they lost money after the company's 2010 oil spill while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigates alleged misconduct by a lawyer who helped administer the multibillion-dollar settlement program.

A court filing Tuesday by BP attorneys argues that because of the allegations, there's a risk that other aspects of the claims process have been compromised.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier didn't immediately rule on BP's latest request to halt settlement payouts.

In April, Barbier refused to block what could be billions of dollars of payments to businesses after BP argued that he and claims administrator Patrick Juneau have misinterpreted the settlement and forced the company to cover inflated and fictitious losses.

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