June 13, 2010 / 1:13 PM / 9 years ago

Obama to call for escrow fund for BP claims

Laughing Gulls gather on marshland coated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill on an island near Grand Isle, Louisiana June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Lee Celano

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will tell BP executives this week that he wants the oil company to establish an escrow account to pay damage claims by individuals and businesses hurt by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

Obama also will call for an independent panel to administer the payments when he meets Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and other BP officials at the White House on Wednesday.

The Politico newspaper, which first reported that Obama would discuss the escrow account, quoted an official as saying the president would “make clear that he expects, and that if necessary will exercise his full legal authority to ensure, that BP sets aside the funds required to pay individuals and businesses damaged by this massive spill.”

The official added that “those funds will be paid out under fair, efficient, and transparent procedures administered by an independent third-party panel established just for this purpose.”

The White House has been urging BP to speed its payments to those affected by the massive oil spill from a sunken oil rig in the Gulf.

Reporting by Caren Bohan and Bill Trott; Editing by Eric Walsh

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