CHICAGO Oil giant BP PLC agreed to pay $373 million in fines and admit to criminal wrongdoing in a sweeping settlement of charges in the aftermath from a fatal Texas explosion, an oil spill in Alaska, and illegal propane trading engineered from Chicago.
In addition, a Chicago grand jury indicted four former BP employees on 20 counts of mail and wire fraud connected to the alleged fixing of prices in the propane market in February 2004. The scheme, allegedly involving huge purchases of propane and delayed deliveries through a pipeline serving the East Coast, pushed propane prices as high as 94 cents a gallon.
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