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Boeing accepts $243.6 million plea deal to avoid a criminal trial over 737 Max crashes in which 346 people were killed

Boeing has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to a criminal fraud conspiracy charge to avoid a criminal trial in connection with a Justice Department investigation into two deadly crashes involving 737 MAX jetliners.


The criminal case relates to two 737 MAX jetliner crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019 in which 346 people were killed, leading to demands from the victims’ families for Boeing to face prosecution.

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“We can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle on terms of a resolution with the Justice Department, subject to the memorialization and approval of specific terms,” a spokesperson for Boeing told FOX Business.


The plea deal still requires a federal judge’s approval but would label the plane manufacturer a convicted felon if accepted. As part of the plea, Boeing will also pay a criminal fine of $243.6 million, a DOJ official told Reuters.

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That fine is on top of the $243.6 million Boeing paid after the DOJ said it breached a 2021 settlement by not complying with certain conditions agreed upon during the settlement.


The deal only covers the company, not any current or former Boeing officials, the DOJ told Reuters, adding that charges against any person are unlikely because of the statute of limitations.


Federal prosecutors had offered Boeing the option of entering a guilty plea and paying a fine or going to trial on the felony criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration over a software feature linked to the fatal crashes.


A lawyer for some of the families criticized the plea agreement as a “sweetheart deal” and said they plan to oppose the deal in court, according to Reuters.

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