Boeing violated $2.5B settlement to avoid prosecution, says Justice Dept

The Department of Justice (DOJ) told a federal judge Tuesday that Boeing violated a settlement that let it escape criminal prosecution following the two crashes of 737 Max aircraft a few years ago.

The DOJ now has to figure out if it will file charges against the aviation giant, according to The Associated Press. According to the department, prosecutors will let the court know of their plans by early July.

Glenn Leon, the head of the DOJ’s criminal fraud section, said Tuesday in a letter filed in federal court in Texas, that Boeing violated the terms of a $2.5 billion settlement from January 2021 in relation to the two crashes of 737 Max jets in 2018 and 2019.

It said Boeing had breached the deal to evade prosecution “by failing to design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations.”

The finding that Boeing violated the terms of the settlement by not making the changes could result in the company being prosecuted “for any federal criminal violation of which the United States has knowledge,” the DOJ said.

Boeing has continued to experience high-profile safety issues and public scrutiny, most recently in January when a door plug blowing off of a 737 Max 9 aircraft during an Alaska Airlines flight.

Boeing confirmed it received communication from the Justice Department and a request for response over the alleged violations of the nonprosecution deal.

“We believe that we have honored the terms of that agreement, and look forward to the opportunity to respond to the Department on this issue,” it said in a statement.

“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.”

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