US Prosecutors Recommend Criminal Charges Against Boeing Over 737 Max Settlement Violation

US prosecutors have recommended that the Department of Justice (DoJ) bring criminal charges against Boeing. This recommendation follows the DoJ’s claim that the plane maker violated a settlement related to two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft, which killed 346 people.

When contacted by news men, Boeing declined to comment but has previously denied violating the deferred prosecution agreement. The DoJ has until July 7 to decide whether to prosecute the company. The DoJ has also been contacted for comment.

According to CBS,  the recommendation is not a final decision, and the details of any potential criminal action are not yet known.

“This is a really critical decision that is coming up,” said Ed Pierson, the executive director of the Foundation for Aviation Safety and a former senior manager at Boeing. He told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today program, “There are issues with these aeroplanes. We’re seeing problems with these planes, and I’m talking about 737 Max, 787, and it is reflective of the leadership.”

The plane crashes, both involving Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft, occurred within six months of each other. The first crash, involving Indonesia’s Lion Air, occurred in October 2018, followed by an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March 2019.

Last week, relatives of the victims urged prosecutors to seek a $25 billion (£14.6 billion) fine against Boeing and to pursue a criminal prosecution.

Under a deal reached in 2021, Boeing agreed to pay a $2.5 billion settlement, and prosecutors agreed to ask the court to drop a criminal charge after three years if the company abided by certain stipulations set out in the deferred prosecution agreement. However, last month, the DoJ stated that Boeing was in breach of the deal, alleging that the company failed to “design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of US fraud laws throughout its operations.”

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