Criminal Charges Recommended for Boeing

( – Prosecutors are recommending criminal charges against airline giant Boeing. The Department of Justice says the company breached obligations contained within a 2021 agreement that protected it from criminal prosecution related to two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

The Justice Department said Boeing broke the agreement by “failing to design, implement and enforce a compliance and ethics program” to prevent and detect violations of US fraud law. The Department has until July 7 to implement charges if it decides to do so.

Under the 2021 arrangement, prosecutors agreed not to charge Boeing over fraud allegations related to the Federal Aviation Administration if the aircraft manufacturer resolved to upgrade its compliance practices and submit regular reports demonstrating these. The company also paid $2.5 billion.

Boeing representatives have not commented on the new Justice Department allegations except to say that they disagree with the view that it breached its 2021 obligations.

The charging recommendations come as the embattled Boeing faces an uncertain future due to repeated claims of unsafe manufacturing practices. More accusations surfaced this year, and in February, a 737 Max United Airlines pilot reported that the flight controls jammed as he approached Newark Airport.

Similarly, an instrument failed, and a pilot said he lost control of a flight from Australia and New Zealand in March. The plane dropped 500 feet in an instant, causing injury to dozens of passengers.

The company first came under safety scrutiny when two flights crashed in 2018 and 2019, and since then, whistleblowers have testified that the aviation giant cut corners on safety to speed up production. Some insiders say Boeing began to go downhill when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in a 1997 $13 billion stock swap agreement.

CEO Dave Calhoun recently announced his intention to resign from the senior post, and media reports indicate that he could receive a $24 million compensation package. He said the company must continue to “inculcate a total commitment to safety.”

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