Boeing to pay $200 million to settle charges over ‘misleading’ crash statements

has agreed to pay $200 million to settle fees from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency found that Boeing had made “materially misleading public statements” related to its aircraft’s involvement. The company’s former CEO Dennis Muilenburg will also pay $1 million to settle the charges. The SEC alleged that Boeing and Muilenburg violated the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws. They neither acknowledged nor denied the agency’s findings.

The SEC claimed that Boeing and Muilenburg were aware that the Anti-Stall Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) posed an ongoing safety issue after the first crash in October 2018 that killed 189 people. However, the company told the public that the 737 Max “is as safe as any plane that has ever flown the skies.”

After a second crash in March 2019 that killed 157 people, the company and Muilenburg claimed in a statement “there were no errors or gaps in the certification process related to MCAS, although they were aware of information to the contrary.” After the crashes, all 737 Max aircraft were grounded.

“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of life caused by these two plane crashes,” said SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. “In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that public companies and executives provide full, fair and truthful disclosures to the markets. The Boeing Company and its former CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, failed to live up to this most basic of commitments. They have misled investors into making assurances about the safety of the 737 Max, even though they are aware of serious safety concerns.”

The settlement “fully completes the SEC’s previously disclosed investigation into matters related to the 737 Max accidents,” Boeing said . “Today’s settlement is part of the company’s broader effort to resolve outstanding legal matters related to the 737 Max accidents responsibly and in a manner that serves the best interests of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders.”

Boeing previously with the Justice Department to avoid criminal charges. Last year, a grand jury indicted former Boeing chief technical pilot Mark A. Forkner. Forkner, the only Boeing employee facing criminal charges in connection with the crashes, was accused of deceiving the FAA’s Aircraft Evaluation Group in evaluating and certifying the 737 Max. After a four-day trial earlier this year, .

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