Lac Megantic victims' fund to begin payments without CP Rail

Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:01pm EST
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL Dec 22 (Reuters) - A C$460 million ($330.46 million)settlement fund for victims of the 2013 Lac-Megantic crude-by-rail disaster will begin disbursements this week without the participation of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd , the monitor for the bankrupt railroad blamed for the tragedy said on Tuesday.

Forty-seven people were killed and the downtown core of the town was destroyed following the derailment of a Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway, Ltd train carrying Bakken crude oil in July 2013.

Parties previously named in a class action lawsuit launched after the disaster, including closely-held Irving Oil, General Electric, Shell Oil Company, ConocoPhillips , Marathon Oil, have agreed to contribute to the settlement fund. (nL2N0ZT1CI)

Calgary-based CP, which is being sued by the Quebec government for C$409 million in Quebec Superior Court in a case related to the disaster, is not part of the fund, said a spokesman for Richter Advisory Group Inc, the Canadian monitor for the MM&A bankruptcy case. CP, which has said it is not responsible for the disaster, is now the only company being threatened by a separate class action.

"It is the only company targeted by lawsuits that decided not to be part of the settlement fund," said Frederic Brosseau, a spokesman for Richter.

The first amount of C$114 million will be transferred this week to the holders of wrongful death claims.

Canadian Pacific officials were not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 1.3920 Canadian dollars) (Reporting By Allison Lampert; Editing by Andrew Hay)