And finally… barking mad

American lawyers are accused of raising over £1 billion of fraudulent cases against oil giant BP – including claims on behalf of dead people and a dog.

Texan lawyer Mikal Watts as well as six co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on 95 counts of wire mail fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy, all relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 oil rig workers and resulted in a massive spill.

The defendants are charged with submitting upwards of 40,000 false claims on behalf of fishermen and are accused of gaining from the disaster relief programme established to help those who suffered economic loss or were injured in the incident, according to US attorney Gregory Davis.

Mr Davis said the defendants used the names and details in some cases of people who did not even exist or were dead.

In one instance Mr Watts made a claim for over £30,000 on behalf of Lucy Lu – described as a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel.

The grand jurors alleged, however, that in reality Lucy Lu was a dog.

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