By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP says it has uncovered new allegations of fraud and conflicts of interest inside the settlement program that has awarded billions of dollars to Gulf Coast businesses and residents following the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In a federal court filing Monday, BP renewed its request for a judge to temporarily suspend settlement payments while former FBI Director Louis Freeh leads an independent investigation of the court-supervised settlement program.
BP says at least two lawyers who have ruled on appeals of disputed settlement awards were partners at law firms that have represented claimants.
BP also says it recently learned of allegations that someone employed by the settlement program in Mobile, Ala., helped claimants submit fraudulent claims in exchange for a portion of the awards.