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A BP gas station in Mexico. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/

Oil giant BP paid the Mexican government $25.5 million earlier this year to absolve the company of any responsibility for polluting Mexican waters after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010, Nathaniel Janowitz of BuzzFeed News reports after a two year investigation.

Why it matters: The payout is relatively small considering BP spent a total of $60 billion in the aftermath of the spill and paid more than $10 billion to United States fishermen and businesses. None of the $25.5 million payment is going to Mexican citizens, Janowitz writes.

The payout was part of a confidential settlement dismissing a lawsuit related to the disaster, where an oil rig exploded and killed more than 11 workers releasing 4 million barrels of oil off the coast of Louisiana and into Mexico's waters.

The details: The Mexican government filed suit against BP, but dropped it five years later for the payout. More than $15 million has already been paid, but the country has never made a public announcement of the settlement or payments.

  • The agreement absolved BP of any responsibility for damages to Mexican waters, Janowitz writes.
  • Mexico said it found no evidence of pollution caused by BP, ignoring research submitted by respected scientists of Mexico that the government spent millions on.
  • The government also handed "numerous lucrative energy contracts" to BP, according to Janowitz, including five oil-drilling sites.

The impact: Janowitz writes of Tonalá, a town along the Gulf Coast where waters have been effected, that its river has been fished by families for generations, but activity has reduced drastically. BP impacted their waters, but fishermen won't see a payment from them. And the company is in Mexico to stay, with thousands of BP gas stations on the way and already $200 million invested in oil blocks.

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”