Saffron Restaurants reservation Justice Department says Boeing violated a deal that avoided prosecution over 737 Max crashes

Justice Department says Boeing violated a deal that avoided prosecution over 737 Max crashes

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Boeing has violated a settlement that allowed the company to avoid criminal charges following two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft, the Justice Department told a federal judge on Tuesday.

It is now up to the Justice Department to decide whether to file charges against the plane maker amid increasing scrutiny over the safety of its planes. Prosecutors will tell the court no later than July 7 how they plan to proceed, the Justice Department said.

Boeing reached a $2.5 billion settlement with the Justice Department in January 2021 to avoid prosecution on a single count of fraud and misleading regulators who approved the 737 Max. Boeing blamed two relatively low-level employees.

The manufacturing giant has come under renewed scrutiny since a door panel on a 737 Max plane blew during an Alaska Airlines flight in January. The company is under multiple investigations and the FBI has told the passengers on the flight that they may be victims of a crime.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Glenn Leon, head of the Justice Department’s fraud division, said in the letter filed in Texas federal court that Boeing failed to make changes to avoid violating federal anti-fraud laws, a condition of the 2021 settlement.

The determination means Boeing could be prosecuted “for any federal criminal violation of which the United States is aware,” including the fraud charge the company hoped to avoid with the $2.5 billion settlement, the Justice Department said.

However, it is not clear whether the government will prosecute the manufacturing giant.

“The government will determine how it will proceed in this case,” the Ministry of Justice said in the official report. Prosecutors said they will meet with the families of the crash victims on May 31.

Paul Cassell, a lawyer representing the families of passengers killed in the Max crash in Ethiopia, called it a “positive first step, and it will be a long time coming for the families.” “But we need to see further action from the DOJ to hold Boeing accountable, and we plan to use our May 31 meeting to explain in more detail what we believe would be a satisfactory resolution to Boeing’s continued criminal behavior.” , Cassell said.

Investigations into the 2018 and 2019 crashes pointed to a flight control system that Boeing added to the Max without notifying pilots or airlines. Boeing downplayed the system’s significance and only revised it after the second crash.

The Justice Department investigated Boeing and settled the case in January 2021. After secret negotiations, the government agreed not to prosecute Boeing on charges of defrauding the United States by misleading regulators who approved the plane.

In return, the company paid $2.5 billion, a $243.6 million fine, a $500 million victim compensation fund and nearly $1.8 billion to airlines whose Max jets were grounded.

Boeing has faced civil lawsuits, congressional investigations and massive damage to its operations since the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.