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Boeing To Pay $200 Mln To Settle SEC Charges On Misleading Investors About 737 Max Crashes
9/22/2022 5:51 PM

Boeing Company (BA) has agreed to pay $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges of making materially misleading public statements following crashes of Boeing airplanes in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing's former CEO Dennis Muilenburg will also pay $1 million in settlement.

"There are no words to describe the tragic loss of life brought about by these two airplane crashes," said SEC Chair Gary Gensler in a statement.

The crashes involved Boeing's 737 MAX airplane and a flight control function called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). According to the SEC's orders, after the first crash, Boeing and Muilenburg knew that MCAS posed an ongoing airplane safety issue, but nevertheless assured the public that the 737 MAX airplane was "as safe as any that has ever flown the skies." Later, following the second crash, Boeing and Muilenburg assured the public that there were no slips or gaps in the certification process with respect to MCAS, despite being aware of contrary information.

"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 in this most basic obligation. They misled investors by providing assurances about the safety of the 737 MAX, despite knowing about serious safety concerns," Gensler added.

According to the SEC's order, one month after Lion Air Flight 610, a 737 MAX airplane, crashed in Indonesia in October 2018, Boeing issued a press release, edited and approved by Muilenburg, that selectively highlighted certain facts from an official report of the Indonesian government suggesting that pilot error and poor aircraft maintenance contributed to the crash. The press release also gave assurances of the airplane's safety, failing to disclose that an internal safety review had determined that MCAS posed an ongoing "airplane safety issue" and that Boeing had already begun redesigning MCAS to address that issue, according to the SEC's orders.

The two crashes, one in October 2018 and another in March 2019, killed all 346 people aboard the two flights. The accidents led to a global grounding of the jetliners.



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