Boeing is to pay $2.5bn (£1.8bn) to settle US criminal charges that it hid information from safety officials about the design of its 737 Max planes. The charges against Boeing was that it used "misleading statements, half truths and omissions" to dupe the regulator responsible for maintaining the safety of aviation.
The US Justice Department said the firm chose "profit over candour", impeding oversight of the planes, which were involved in two deadly crashes which killed 346 people.
The Justice Department said Boeing officials had concealed information about changes to an automated flight control system, known as MCAS, which investigations have tied to the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019.
The decision meant that pilot training manuals lacked information about the system, which overrode pilot commands based on faulty data, forcing the planes to nosedive shortly after take-off.
Boeing did not co-operate with investigators for six months, the DOJ said.
"The tragic crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 exposed fraudulent and deceptive conduct by employees of one of the world's leading commercial airplane manufacturers," said Acting Assistant Attorney General David Burns. "Boeing's employees chose the path of profit over candour by concealing material information from the FAA concerning the operation of its 737 Max airplane and engaging in an effort to cover up their deception."
In a statement from the group of lawyers representing the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash said the deal would not end their pending civil lawsuit against Boeing.
"The allegations in the deferred prosecution agreement are just the tip of the iceberg of Boeing's wrongdoing — a corporation that pays billions of dollars to avoid criminal liability while stonewalling and fighting the families in court."