Accused of misleading investors, Boeing goes to the box

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While the US financial market policeman believes that Boeing violated securities laws by misleading investors about the safety of its 737 MAX planes, the aeronautical giant agreed on Thursday to pay 200 million dollars.

Accused by the American Financial Markets Constable (SEC) of having publicly issued several messages stating, after two fatal plane crashes, that the 737 MAX did not present a risk, Boeing agreed on Thursday, September 22, to pay 200 million dollars.

Responsible at the time for these messages, the company’s former general manager, Dennis Muilenburg, for his part agreed to pay a million dollars in fines.

It is primarily an issue with the flight software, MCAS, which caused a Lion Air 737 MAX in October 2018 and then a similar Ethiopian Airlines plane in March 2019 to go into a nose dive without the pilots being able to find them. The crashes caused 346 deaths and caused the immobilization of the 737 MAX for twenty months.

Boeing and his boss “knew”

“After the first accident, Boeing and Muilenburg knew that MCAS was a safety issue, but nevertheless assured the public that the 737 MAX was ‘as safe as any aircraft that has ever flown in the sky,'” the SEC said in a statement. a statement statement. .

“Later, after the second accident, Boeing and Muilenburg assured the public that there were no slips or loopholes in the MCAS certification process, despite being aware of reports to the contrary,” the agency adds.

Boeing had already admitted in January 2021 that two of its employees had misled a group from the US aviation authority tasked with preparing pilot training for MCAS software. The airline giant had then agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion to settle certain lawsuits – including a $243.6 million criminal fine, $1.77 billion in compensation to the airlines that ordered the 737 MAX, and $500 million for a fund earmarked for to compensate the families of the victims.

basic obligation

The SEC found that Boeing and Dennis Muilenburg had violated securities market laws by misleading investors. If they agreed to pay a penalty, the group, like the former director, neither admits nor denies the agency’s conclusions, the press release specifies.

“In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that publicly traded companies and their executives provide full, fair and truthful information to the markets. The Boeing Company and its former boss, Dennis Muilenburg, have failed in this most basic obligation. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in the statement.

The SEC particularly criticizes Boeing for issuing a press release a month after the Lion Air accident, noted and approved by Dennis Muilenburg, highlighting only certain passages in a report by Indonesian authorities that suggested the pilot and poor maintenance they were to blame.

The document also failed to mention an internal assessment that MCAS posed “an aviation safety concern” and that Boeing had already begun work on modifications to address it.

“Great and profound changes”

Six weeks after the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, Dennis Muilenburg also told analysts and reporters that there were no surprises in the MCAS certification process and that Boeing verified that it had followed all the regulatory steps. Later documents showed that Boeing had already identified problems in the process.

The settlement with the SEC “is part of the company’s broader efforts to responsibly resolve outstanding legal issues related to the 737 MAX accidents in a manner that best serves the interests of our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders.” said a Boeing spokesman. The group, since 2019, has “made big and profound changes” to “solidify security processes and oversight of security matters,” he added.

with AFP

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