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Jun 26, 2013 9:12 AM by AP

BP mounts offensive in spill settlement dispute

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - BP is warning lawyers for many Gulf Coast businesses that it may seek to recover at least a portion of their clients' shares of a multibillion-dollar settlement if it successfully appeals a key ruling in the legal wrangling spawned by the company's massive 2010 oil spill.

The London-based oil giant says it's sending hundreds of letters to attorneys for businesses the company believes received excessive payments from a court-supervised settlement program.

The letters are part of BP's increasingly aggressive campaign to challenge a judge's interpretation of the settlement's terms.

BP also is placing a full-page advertisement in three of the nation's largest newspapers Wednesday that accuses "trial lawyers and some politicians" of encouraging businesses to submit thousands of claims for inflated or non-existent losses.

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