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US Justice Department Contemplates Prosecution Of Boeing Over 737 Max Crashes

The US Department of Justice is considering whether to prosecute Boeing over two deadly crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is weighing the possibility of prosecuting Boeing following two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max aircraft. The aviation giant breached a 2021 agreement that shielded the aviation giant from criminal charges linked to the incidents, the DOJ said.

According to the DOJ, Boeing allegedly violated the terms of the agreement by failing to “design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the US fraud laws throughout its operations”. The crashes, which occurred in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019, resulted in the deaths of 346 individuals.

Boeing has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, asserting that it adhered to the terms of the agreement. The company expressed readiness to address the DOJ’s concerns and asserted its commitment to safety and compliance.

As part of the deal, Boeing agreed to pay a $2.5 billion (£1.98bn) fine, while prosecutors agreed to seek the dismissal of criminal charges after a three-year period. However, the recent allegations have cast doubt on the future of the agreement.

The DOJ has given Boeing until June 13 to respond to the accusations, with the company’s statements expected to influence the department’s future decisions.

However, relatives of the crash victims have advocated for legal action against Boeing, viewing the DOJ’s scrutiny as a significant development. Paul G Cassell, a lawyer representing the families of the victims, hailed the DOJ’s move as a “positive first step” but emphasised the need for further accountability.

He said, “This is a positive first step, and for the families, a long time coming. But we need to see further action from DOJ to hold Boeing accountable”.

Boeing’s safety practices have faced heightened scrutiny following a recent incident involving a new 737 Max aircraft, where an unused door detached shortly after takeoff, resulting in substantial damage to the plane.

Melissa Enoch

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