Senators blast BP for protecting dividend in escrow account

The dividend's fate was the subject of a BP board meeting on Monday. The senators claim that reports on the meeting state that the board is considering storing the payout in an escrow account that would be controlled by the company to ensure investors receive it. A BP spokesman told The Hill that no final decision has been made on the issue.

"No plan has been announced," the spokesman said. "As you know, we will be meeting with the administration tomorrow, where that subject will be brought up."  

President Barack Obama recently requested the oil giant create an escrow account devoted to paying damage claims related to the oil spill. The proposal did not include protecting a dividend payment by storing it in an escrow account.

"We believe BP has an obligation to refrain from setting aside any funds for a dividend payment until the amount of the damages related to the oil spill can be estimated and the company has established an escrow account to cover those costs," the senators wrote. "President Obama has called for just such an account to be established, but to date, BP has not agreed to the proposal."