Boeing and its former chief executive have settled an investigation by the top US financial regulator into allegedly misleading statements by the planemaker and its then boss about its 737 Max planes, involved in two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.
Boeing will pay $200 million to settle charges that it misled investors and former Boeing boss Dennis Muilenburg has agreed to pay $1 million.
“In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that public companies and executives provide full, fair and truthful information to the markets. The Boeing Company and its former CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, failed in this basic obligation,” he said. the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler.
The two fatal 737 Max planes claimed the lives of 346 people, led to the grounding of the Max fleet and investigations around the world.
The SEC has been investigating statements made by the company and by its former CEO. Boeing investors lost billions after the crashes and the SEC is tasked with enforcing rules that force companies to disclose information that could affect their stock price.
The two accidents, of a Lion Air flight that crashed into the sea off Jakarta and an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa, occurred four months apart and involved a flight control feature called the Flight Characteristics Augmentation System. maneuver (MCAS).
According to the SEC, after the first accident, Boeing and Muilenburg knew that MCAS “posed an ongoing aircraft safety issue, but they certainly assured the public that the 737 Max aircraft was ‘as safe as any aircraft that has ever flown in the United States’.” Heavens’. Later, after the second accident, Boeing and Muilenburg assured the public that there were no flaws or gaps in the certification process regarding MCAS, despite learning to the contrary.”
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of life caused by these two plane crashes,” Gensler said.
In 2021, the justice department fined Boeing $2.5 billion after being charged with fraud and conspiracy in connection with the two crashes. Investigators alleged that a former Boeing pilot misled aviation safety regulators about how the Max’s flight control system worked.
US authorities said the company had engaged “in an effort to cover up its deception” and chose “the path of profit over candor in concealing material information” from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the main regulator of airlines. US airlines
Boeing said it has made “broad and profound changes to our company in response to those accidents” to improve safety and quality, the Associated Press reported.
“Today’s settlement is part of a broader effort by the company to responsibly resolve outstanding legal matters related to the 737 Max accidents in a manner that serves the best interests of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders,” he said. the company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.
Boeing was not immediately available for comment.