Morning business round-up: BP accused of negligence


What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

UK oil giant BP has been accused of "gross negligence and wilful misconduct" by the US Justice Department over the Deepwater Horizon disaster

The allegations - denied by BP - came in papers filed in the federal court in New Orleans.

The Deepwater Horizon rig had been leased by BP. It exploded on 20 April 2010, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of gallons of crude oil.

If the government can prove gross negligence it can triple the damages BP may have to pay to $21bn (£13bn).

Australia's economic growth rate slowed in the second quarter amid a drop global demand for its resources and lacklustre domestic consumption.

Growth was 3.7% in the April to June period, from a year earlier. That is down from 4.3% annual growth in the same period last year.

Compared with the previous quarter, the economy expanded by 0.6%.

Shares of Chinese PC maker Lenovo have dipped in Hong Kong after Japan's NEC sold its entire stake in the firm.

The Japanese firm sold nearly 281 million shares of Lenovo in a deal estimated to be worth HK$1.86bn ($240m; £151m).

NEC had acquired these shares in exchange for a 51% stake in a joint-venture the two companies had announced last year.

Media caption,
Biz Heads

Switzerland has topped the World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual study of global competitiveness, followed by Singapore and then Finland.

In the survey of 144 economies, the UK rose to eighth from 10th place.

WEF said the UK had benefited from a more efficient labour market compared with more "rigid" European economies.

The US economy fell from fifth to seventh place, although WEF said it remained the top innovator.

The European Commission has said it will investigate Russian energy giant Gazprom for possible anti-competitive practices in central and eastern European gas markets.

The commission said it was concerned Gazprom "may be abusing its dominant market position".

It will look at whether the firm restricts the free flow of gas across member states, prevents diversification of supply, and prices gas unfairly.

The latest Business Daily programme from the BBC World Service looks at the global timber industry and the companies that have to pay the price of certifying where their timber comes from.

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