Boeing will pay $200 million to settle an investigation into its misleading claims following two deadly crashes of its 737 Max aircraft.
Federal regulators said Thursday that Boeing executives deceived shareholders after the crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.
“Boeing and [then-CEO Dennis] Muilenburg put profits over people by misleading investors about the safety of the 737 Max, all in an effort to rehabilitate Boeing’s image,” said Gurbir S. Grewal of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Neither Muilenburg nor Boeing admitted or denied any findings from the SEC investigation, the commission noted. The aircraft maker did not immediately comment on the settlement.
After the first 737 Max crash — Lion AIr Flight 610, which killed 189 people after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia — Boeing issued a press release claiming the 737 Max was “as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies.”
Just months later, another 737 Max flight on Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing 157 people.
In response, the jet model was quickly grounded worldwide. The SEC said its investigation revealed Boeing executives knew about the problems with the 737 Max, specifically its flight-control system, but kept them hidden.
“In times of crisis and tragedy, it is especially important that public companies and executives provide full, fair, and truthful disclosures to the markets,” SEC chair Gary Gensler said. “The Boeing Company and its former CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, failed in this most basic obligation.”