Boeing accused of fraud after two 737 MAX crashes agrees to pay more than $ 2.5 billion

Boeing accused of fraud after two 737 MAX crashes agrees to pay more than $ 2.5 billion

The air disasters of October 2018 and March 2019, which brought the 737 MAX to a standstill for 20 months, plunged the American aircraft manufacturer into the most turbulent period in its history, marked by a multitude of investigations against it. .

A Boeing 737 MAX piloted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), September 30, 2020 in Seattle (United States).  (JASON REDMOND / AFP)

Boeing recognizes its responsibility. The aeronautic giant agreed, Thursday, January 7, to pay more than 2.5 billion dollars (2 billion euros) as part of the investigation by the US Department of Justice into the two 737 MAX accidents which killed 346 in 2018 and 2019. Boeing will therefore not have to plead guilty in the context of criminal proceedings, the department announced .

This resolution allows the manufacturer to dispel a little more the clouds that have gathered over its flagship aircraft, grounded for 20 months, before being again authorized to fly in certain countries at the end of 2020.

“We did not respond to our values”

Boeing admitted that two of its employees had misled a task force within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation authority, to prepare training for pilots on the aircraft on the MCAS flight software, involved in the two accidents. The documents subsequently issued by the aviation agency therefore did not contain essential information about this software, which was therefore not included in the company manuals. The agreement “Rightly recognizes that we have not met our values ​​and our expectations”, said David Calhoun, chief executive of Boeing, in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, which formally accuses Boeing of conspiring to commit fraud, the group has agreed to continue to cooperate with the authorities on any ongoing or future investigations and to honor certain commitments. The ministry will lift the lawsuits in three years if Boeing meets all of its obligations. However, he did not consider it necessary to impose an independent inspector on the company.

“An insult to the 346 deceased victims”

In detail, Boeing has agreed to pay the United States a criminal fine of 243.6 million, as well as 1.77 billion in compensation to the airlines having ordered the 737 MAX and 500 million for a fund intended to compensate relatives of the victims of the accidents of Lion Air in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019.

Lawyers representing families of victims of the Ethiopian Airlines flight crash have said the deal strengthens their civil action against Boeing in Chicago. Boeing has already settled most of the disputes regarding the Lion Air flight. But for Representative Peter DeFazio, who oversaw a lengthy investigation into the circumstances of the accidents, this agreement “Is just a slap in the face for Boeing and is an insult to the 346 victims who died as a result of the company’s greed.”