Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying oil spill evidence

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig on fire Deepwater Horizon created the largest offshore spill is US history

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A US court has accepted a guilty plea from Halliburton for destroying evidence connected with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In a statement, the company said it had agreed to a fine of $200,000 for the unauthorised deletion of a computer record.

One of the firm's employees was also charged on Thursday.

The disaster killed 11 people in April 2010 and led to the largest offshore oil spill in US history.

Halliburton was BP's cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded.

In its plea Halliburton accepted the charge of "intentionally causing damage without authorisation to a protected computer".

As well as being fined, the company was put on probation for three years.

US District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo said that the plea "adequately reflects the seriousness of the offence".

Halliburton said that it "believes that this closure holds significant positive impacts for the company, its employees and shareholders".

The contractor is the third of three major companies at the heart of the oil spill to admit criminal wrongdoing. BP and rig operator Transocean have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the disaster.

Meanwhile, a former manager, Anthony Badalamenti, was charged in federal court with instructing two other employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP's blown-out well.

His lawyer did not comment on the charge.

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