REPORT: Federal Prosecutors Expected To Recommend Charges Against Boeing


Federal prosecutors are recommending to senior Justice Department officials that criminal charges be brought against Boeing after finding that the aircraft manufacturer violated a settlement relating to two fatal crashes, two sources with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

The Justice Department must decide by July 7 whether to prosecute Boeing.

In May, federal officials determined that Boeing violated a 2021 agreement that had shielded the company from criminal charges of conspiracy to commit fraud in relation with two fatal crashes in 2017 and 2018 involving its 737 MAX jet.

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Under the 2021 deal, the DOJ agreed not to prosecute Boeing as long as the company overhauled its compliance practices and submitted regular reports. The company also agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle the investigation.

Known as a deferred prosecution agreement, the 2021 settlement has a three-year term.

The company has not provided comment on the most recent report, though executives have previously stated it has “honored the terms” of the deal. Boeing has previously told the DOJ that it disagrees with the department’s assertion that it has violated the settlement, Reuters reported earlier this month.

The two sides are currently holding discussions over a potential resolution and there is no guarantee that charges will be brought, sources with knowledge of the situation told the outlet.

Sources did not specify what criminal charges DOJ officials could be considering, though one of them stated that they could extend beyond the original 2021 fraud conspiracy charge. Alternatively, the DOJ could opt to extend the 2021 settlement by a year or impose new, more stringent terms.

In addition to financial penalties, a possible solution could involve the appointment of a third-party monitor if the DOJ opts for a strict response. The Justice Department could also require Boeing to admit wrongdoing by pleading guilty.

Boeing hopes to avoid a guilty plea, one of the sources said, as the company believes it could be too damaging. The company relies heavily on contracts with the federal government, including those with the Department of Defense, which could be jeopardized by a guilty plea, Reuters reported.

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