UPDATE 1-Lac Megantic victims' fund to begin payments without CP Rail

Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:25pm EST
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(Adds comment from Canadian Pacific; changes lead)

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 involved in the payments 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.

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 Montreal, Maine and Atlantic bankruptcy case. CP 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 said it is not responsible for the disaster.

"It was not our train, not our track, not our locomotive and not our crew," said CP spokesman Marty Cej in an email. "We will continue to defend ourselves against any litigation."

The Quebec government lawsuit alleges CP, which hauled the cars from North Dakota to Montreal, was negligent when it handed over the tank cars to the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, Canadian media reported when the lawsuit was filed in November. ($1 = 1.3920 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by Andrew Hay and Sandra Maler)