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Boeing may be criminally prosecuted for 737 MAX crashes, US says

The US Justice Department said that Boeing may be prosecuted for two subsequent 737 Max crashes which killed 346 people five years ago. Authorities said that Boeing breached obligations under an agreement that had shielded it against legal proceedings for the accidents. The company told news agency AFP that it plans to defend itself saying, “We believe that we have honored the terms of that agreement.”

The Boeing logo is seen on the side of a Boeing 737 MAX at the Farnborough International Airshow.(Reuters)

Officials said that Boeing breached its obligations under a deferred prosecution agreement (DFA) 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.” This means that the company can be prosecuted for any violation of federal law related to the crashes. Authorities are evaluating how to proceed next and has asked Boeing to respond by June 13.

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Boeing 737 Max crashes

In March 2019, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed southeast of Addis Ababa, killing the 157 people on board. Earlier, a MAX 8 operated by Lion Air, crashed in October 2018 in Indonesia’s Java Sea and left 189 people dead. Both aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff and investigations showed that there was trouble with the automated flight system of the planes.

What has Boeing said on the development?

Boeing said, “We will engage with the Department with the utmost transparency, as we have throughout the entire term of the agreement.” It said this also included “response to their questions following the Alaska Airlines 1282 accident.”

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