Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to fraud in the investigation into the 737 Max crash

Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to fraud in the investigation into the 737 Max crash
Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to fraud in the investigation into the 737 Max crash

The three-year probationary period was due to end this year.


Boeing said Monday it had reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over two fatal 737 MAX crashes that court documents show will result in the aviation giant being found guilty of fraud.

Prosecutors concluded that Boeing violated previous agreements to deal with the disasters, which killed 346 people more than five years ago in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

“We have reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice on the terms of a resolution, subject to the memorandum and approval of certain terms,” ​​Boeing told AFP in a statement.

Court documents filed in Texas on Sunday said the company agreed to plead guilty to “conspiring to defraud the United States” during the certification of the MAX aircraft.

Under the agreement, Boeing will be fined and required to invest a minimum of $455 million in “compliance and safety programs,” while compensation for the families will be determined by the court.

Boeing’s latest legal trouble was sparked by a Justice Department determination in mid-May that the company ignored a 2021 Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) by failing to meet requirements to improve its compliance and ethics program after the MAX crash.

Families of the MAX victims are “extremely disappointed” by the settlement reached between Boeing and the Justice Department, said a Clifford Law attorney representing them.

“Over the past five years, more evidence has emerged showing that Boeing’s culture of putting profits before safety has not changed. This plea agreement only further distorts the corporate purpose,” senior partner Robert A. Clifford said in a statement.

The families will ask the court to reject the plea deal at an upcoming hearing, according to an opposition filed by their legal team.

The original DPA was announced in January 2021 alleging that Boeing knowingly defrauded the Federal Aviation Administration during certification of the MAX.

The settlement requires Boeing to pay $2.5 billion in restitution in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution.

The three-year trial period is set to end this year. But in January, Boeing fell back into crisis mode when a 737 MAX flown by Alaska Airlines was forced to make an emergency landing after a panel in the middle of the fuselage exploded.

In a May 14 letter to the U.S. court, Justice Department officials said Boeing “violated its obligations under the DPA by failing to design, implement and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of U.S. fraud laws across its operations.”

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and appeared on a syndicated channel.)

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