Boeing He pleaded guilty to fraud in connection with the approval of his 737 Max, following a deal with prosecutors before the two planes crashed off the coast of Indonesia and Ethiopia, killing 346 people. Will be punished.

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is seen on the side of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Farnborough International Air Show in Farnborough, Britain, on July 20, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo (REUTERS)

American Aerospace The giant has apparently calculated that pleading guilty is better than fighting the crime and enduring a lengthy public trial.

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However, a plea deal is not yet certain.

Relatives of some of the dead passengers have indicated they will ask a federal judge in Texas to overturn the deal, which they say is too lenient given the loss of life. They want a trial, they want a huge fine, and they want Boeing leaders to face charges.

In a legal filing late Sunday — minutes before a midnight deadline — the Justice Department disclosed the deal and said the fraud charge was “the most serious easily provable offense” it has brought against Boeing. can bring Prosecutors say Boeing will pay an additional $243.6 million in fines, the same amount it paid in 2021 for the same offense.

The Justice Department says the fraud conviction will hold Boeing accountable for “misrepresentations” it made to regulators. 737 max In 2017 The accidents occurred less than five months apart in 2018 and 2019.

The company still faces an investigation into the Alaska Airlines Max panel explosion in January, increased oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration, and allegations of poor workmanship and retaliation against whistleblowers by current and former employees.

Here’s what to know about the case and what may be next for Boeing:

What did Boeing admit?

Boeing agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud. United States – In this case, defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Justice Department first filed the charge in 2021, but agreed not to prosecute Boeing if it paid a fine and successfully completed three years of corporate probation, known as a deferred prosecution agreement. goes

However, in May, the department determined that Boeing had not followed through on the agreement, setting in motion the events that led to Sunday’s plea agreement.

The plea deal could help Boeing address a black mark on its reputation — allegations that the U.S. aerospace giant defrauded regulators over the plane and its pilot training to fly it safely. Approved the requirements.

What did Boeing agree to do?

Boeing will pay another fine, bringing the total to $487.2 million, which the Justice Department says is the legal maximum for the fraud charge. The deal also requires the company to invest at least $455 million to improve safety. It will remain on court-supervised probation for three years, and the Justice Department will name an independent monitor to oversee Boeing’s compliance with the terms of the plea agreement.

Boeing’s board of directors must meet with the victims’ families.

Can a judge block a contract?

Yes. The hearing will be held before U.S. District Judge Reid O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas. He could accept the deal, in which case he could not change the terms of Boeing’s sentence. Or he could reject it, which would likely lead to new negotiations between Boeing and prosecutors. A hearing date has not been set.

Bargains in which the defendant and the federal government agree to a sentence are controversial in legal circles.

“Judges don’t like them. They feel it’s usurping their authority,” said Deborah Curtis, a former Justice Department lawyer.

However, O’Connor has previously shown respect for the Justice Department’s power. When the families of the crash victims tried to overturn the 2021 deferred prosecution agreement, the judge criticized it for “serious criminal conduct by Boeing” but ruled that it had the power to overturn the settlement. There is no option.

What is the reaction of the families of those who died in the accident?

Many people are angry with the deal.

Zipporah Correa, a 28-year-old woman from London whose father, Joseph, was on board the Ethiopian Airlines Max that crashed in March 2019, wanted a trial that she believed would reveal new details about her. What is the cause of this accident will be revealed.

Now, with the possibility that there will never be a trial, “the opportunity to continue digging, to find out what went wrong here and what’s wrong, has kind of been taken away from us,” Correa said. “So once again, they (the victims) have been robbed of their dignity, and our closure has been robbed.”

Javier De Luis, an MIT aeronautics lecturer whose sister, Grizilla, died in the Ethiopian crash, also sees the punishment for Boeing as insufficient.

“If you look at the elements that make up this plea agreement, they are very typical of what you would expect to see in a white-collar fraud investigation — not a felony case. Which directly caused the death of 346 people,” he said.

Nadia Mulroney, a Massachusetts resident whose 24-year-old daughter Samia Stomo died in the same crash, wants current and former Boeing CEOs to face charges.

“After the Indonesia crash, they knew there was something wrong with that plane, and they knew it could crash,” he said. “They gambled with people’s lives, and they’re still gambling.”

How will the punishment affect Boeing?

Boeing’s business never fully recovered from the crash. Following renewed scrutiny following the Alaska Airlines incident, the company failed to book any new orders for the Max in April and May. It has also fallen behind European rival Airbus in the production and delivery of new planes, which means less revenue.

All this is happening as Boeing searches for a new CEO to replace David Calhoun, who says he will step down at the end of the year.

That said, the company’s share price rose slightly on Monday.

Will Boeing lose government contracts?

maybe not.

Government contractors can be suspended or fired because of criminal convictions, but agencies are generally allowed to make exceptions.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said the Justice Department notified the Defense Department of Boeing’s plea agreement.

The Defense Department will “review the company’s reform plans and the agreement with the Department of Justice to determine what actions are necessary and appropriate to protect the federal government,” Ryder said.

In 2006, the Air Force cited a “compelling national interest” in allowing Boeing to compete for contracts even after the company admitted to allegations that it cheated to win a space launch contract. including using the information and paying a $615 million fine.

Does the request affect other Boeing investigations?

It will only settle the fraud charge filed after the two fatal crashes. The FBI told Alaska Airlines Max passengers who suffered a panel explosion while flying over Oregon that they may be the victims of a crime.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the incident, and the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into Boeing’s manufacturing standards.

What happened in the accident?

Boeing added new flight control software to the Max that could push the plane’s nose down if a sensor indicated the plane might be approaching an aerodynamic stall. He didn’t initially tell pilots or airlines about the software, known by the acronym MCAS.

According to investigations into the October 29, 2018 Line Air Max crash off the coast of Indonesia and the March 10, 2019 investigation, the system was activated prior to both crashes based on faulty readings from a single sensor on each plane. Ethiopian Airlines Max near Addis Ababa. Other factors contributed to the Lion Air crash, and the Ethiopian pilots were familiar with MCAS but still could not regain control after going down without nose input.

This story was published without editing the text from a wire agency feed. Only the title has been changed.

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