US Fed Ponders Over Criminal Charges Against Boeing

The U.S. Justice Department is mulling over the decision of pressing criminal charges against Boeing for its violation of an agreement made in 2021 between the two parties.

By Mrinal
New Update

Boeing and U.S. Department of Justice go head to head in a settlement violation

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Boeing has fallen in hot waters with the USA’s Justice Department as the company allegedly violated a previous settlement with the government.

Boeing signed a $2.5 billion settlement with the U.S. government in 2021

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the company came to an agreement with the government in 2021, which allowed it to avoid criminal charges in two crash cases involving its 737 Max aircraft. The two aircrafts, the main culprits of a crash in Indonesia in 2018 and in Ethiopia in 2019, ended up killing around 346 people. However, the company was able to avoid criminal prosecution by claiming a case of fraud – “two corrupt employees and misleading federal regulators who approved the plane”. In the end, Boeing came to a $2.5 billion settlement with the government which included a $243.6 million fine, $500 million fund for victim compensation, and around $1.8 billion to airlines whose Max jets were pulled out of service for around two years; Boeing walked away with no criminal charge sheet. However, the settlement also mentioned that the company should make promised changes in their airplanes and prevent violations of federal anti-fraud laws, which the Justice Department claims, the organisation has failed to do until now.

Glenn Leon, Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Highlighting the same, Glenn Leon, Chief of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of U.S. Department of Justice, penned a letter to the federal court claiming that Boeing has “violated the terms of the settlement”, because of which Boeing can be charged “for any deferral criminal violation of which the United States has knowledge”. However, whether or not the government will actually charge Boeing remains as a question to be answered as the company is still one of the most prominent organisations in the world and vital to various U.S. projects. “The government is determining how it will proceed in this matter,” the Justice Department claimed in the court filing, allowing Boeing time till 13 June 2024 to respond to the allegations and prove them wrong.

Boeing claims that the company has honoured the terms of the settlement

Boeing, on the accusations, stated, “We believe that we have honoured the terms of that agreement, and look forward to the opportunity to respond to the Department on this issue. As we do so, we will engage with the Department with the utmost transparency, as we have throughout the entire term of the agreement, including in response to their questions following the Alaska Airlines 1282 accident.”

Some of the victims of the two tragedy crashes

The news, however, comes as a positive sign for the families of the people who suffered in the two crashes. Paul Cassell, a lawyer representing the families of the deceased in the 2019 Ethiopia crash, said that the new probe into Boeing’s settlement is “a positive first step, and for the families, a long time coming. But we need to see further action from DOJ to hold Boeing accountable, and plan to use our meeting on 31 May 2024 to explain in more details what we believe would be a satisfactory remedy to Boeing’s ongoing criminal conduct.”

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