Home North America Boeing To Plead Guilty To Criminal Fraud Conspiracy Linked to 737 Max...

Boeing To Plead Guilty To Criminal Fraud Conspiracy Linked to 737 Max Crashes


Boeing has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge to resolve a U.S. Justice Department investigation linked to two 737 MAX fatal crashes, a government official said on Sunday.

The plea, which requires a federal judge’s approval, would brand the plane-maker a convicted felon. Boeing will also pay a criminal fine of $243.6 million, a Justice Department official said.

The charge relates to two 737 MAX crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia over a five-month period in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people and prompted the families of the victims to demand that Boeing face prosecution.

A guilty plea potentially threatens the company’s ability to secure lucrative government contracts with the likes of the U.S. Defense Department and NASA, although it could seek waivers. Boeing became exposed to criminal prosecution after the Justice Department in May found the company violated a 2021 settlement involving the fatal crashes.

Still, the plea spares Boeing a contentious trial that could have exposed many of the company’s decisions leading up to the fatal MAX plane crashes to even greater public scrutiny. It would also make it easier for the company, which will have a new CEO later this year, to try to move forward as it seeks approval for its planned acquisition of Spirit AeroSystems.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel

Boeing declined to comment.

Boeing has also agreed to invest at least $455 million over the next three years to strengthen its safety and compliance programs, the official said. DOJ will appoint a third-party monitor to oversee the firm’s compliance. The monitor will have to publicly file with the court annual reports on the company’s progress.

The Justice Department on June 30 offered a plea agreement to Boeing and gave the company until the end of the week to take the deal or face a trial on a charge of conspiring to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with a key software feature tied to the fatal crashes.

After being briefed last week on the DOJ’s offer, a lawyer for some of the families criticized it as a “sweetheart deal”. They have vowed to oppose the deal in court.