Boeing agrees to $ 2.5 billion deal to settle US criminal investigation into 737 MAX crashes

    WASHINGTON / SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co will pay more than $ 2.5 billion to settle the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into two deadly 737 MAX crashes that killed 346 people, the Justice Department said, but it won’t forced to plead guilty to criminal charges.

    The Justice Department said the deal includes a criminal fine of $ 243.6 million, compensation payments to Boeing 737 MAX airline customers of $ 1.77 billion, and the establishment of a fund to the beneficiaries of the victims of road accidents of 500 million dollars to compensate the heirs, the relatives and the passengers.

    The incidents led to the plane being grounded for 20 months in March 2019, which was only lifted in November after Boeing made significant safety updates.

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    Boeing was charged with a conspiracy tally to defraud the United States. The largest US aircraft manufacturer faces a three-year deferred power of attorney agreement, after which the charge will be dismissed if the company complies with the agreement.

    “The tragic incidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive behavior by employees of one of the world’s leading manufacturers of commercial aircraft,” said David P. Burns, assistant attorney general. “Boeing employees have chosen the path of profit over frankness by hiding material information from the FAA regarding the operation of its 737 Max aircraft and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception. “

    Boeing admitted in court documents that two of its 737 MAX Flight Technical Pilots duped the Federal Aviation Administration about a key safety system linked to both fatalities called MCAS.

    Boeing chief executive David Calhoun said in a statement that the deal “adequately recognizes how we have not lived up to our values ​​and expectations.”

    The airline payment fund will include previous payments already made by Boeing to airlines.

    Reporting by David Shepardson Edited by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy

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