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RICO law made to combat Mafia used in BP lawsuits

MIAMI (AP) - Attorneys are using a law enacted to combat the Mafia in lawsuits accusing BP and Transocean of committing crimes that led to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

At least three lawsuits have been filed under the federal law known as RICO, which stands for Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. They are among more than 200 lawsuits filed since the Deepwater Horizon drill rig exploded and sank in April.

The RICO lawsuits accuse both companies of committing wire and mail fraud by filing false documents with the U.S. government, misleading investors and bribing government regulators.

Civil RICO cases can lead to crimnal prosecutions. The Justice Department is looking at all possible criminal violations.

The companies declined comment.


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