back to article Boeing to pay SEC $200m to settle charges it misled investors over 737 MAX safety

Boeing has agreed to pay $200 million to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) claiming the aviation giant misled investors about the safety of its 737 MAX airplane. The 737 MAX was involved in two crashes that killed all aboard in 2018 and 2019, now understood to be at least partly caused by …

  1. Snake Silver badge

    "Reimbursing investors"

    But no criminal conspiracy, or malfeasance / liability, charges.

    As usual.

    "Free market capitalism is self-regulating, and will punish malfeasance." Tell that to the hundreds dead.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: "Reimbursing investors"

      Such charges are not the responsibility of the SEC. How many people died in Tupolevs and Ilyushins, I wonder? Free market capitalism is the worst possible system, except for all the others.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: "Reimbursing investors"

        @Chris Miller

        cheating should not be allowed what ever the system is called.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: "Reimbursing investors"

        Tupolevs and Ilyushins are not being flown (or manufactured) by any company under the SEC's purview.

        And the SEC is not the agency responsible for prosecuting the company for that either. If anything, that's the US government's job. They've failed so far to do it.

    2. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: "Reimbursing investors"

      The SEC case is ONLY about statements made to investors and is not related to other cases. The SEC's remit is simply to ensure that where businesses make statements to investors & potential investors, that they are truthful and don't tell lies or cherry pick only the information that misleads investors into giving them money they might not otherwise have done.

      Separately to that, there have been, and still are, other cases - which will probably include investigations as to whether any laws were actually broken by anyone (for example, whether false statements were made to the FAA in order to have the aircraft certified), who is liable to what compensation to whom, and so on.

    3. very angry man

      Re: "Reimbursing investors"

      Burn the prick, burn them all i say!! do it now

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Reimbursing investors"

      It appears in this case to have directly financially rewarded those who are ultimately responsible for greed driven deaths: the owners.

  2. johnnyblaze


    It actually makes me so angry that a company like Boeing, who through negligence and incompetence caused the deaths of hundreds, can throw a few hundred million at the SEC from behind the sofa to make it all go away. It's utterly outrageous, and they should be held accountable. We live in a world where human lives now mean almost nothing and money means everything. I'd like to get off this hamster wheel please.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Outrageous

      The article (and the fine) are about misleading investors, not corporate manslaughter. It certainly hasn't "all gone away".

      1. innominatus

        Re: Outrageous

        Indeed. The final quote at the end of the article could perhaps do with clarifying: "resolve outstanding legal matters related to the 737 MAX accidents in a manner that serves the best interests of our shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders including our money-grabbing, scumbag CEO and Board who couldn't give a flying f@&# about people's lives if it put their share options at risk" FTFY

  3. FlamingDeath Silver badge


    Investors are a bit like gamblers

    When the times are good, they’re popping champagne bottles

    When times are bad they’re pissing vinegar

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Infesters

      Oh for fucks sake. Pissing vinegar? I've just gone crosslegged...

    2. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: Infesters

      The clue is in the name - "investor".

      In general, businesses need investors to lend them money so they can grow the business. The other side of that deal is that (if it all works out), the business then makes a profit and is able to return some of that to the investors through dividends (or the share price going up if the investors decides to sell).

      Naturally, if investors can see that the business is being driven into the ground (perhaps poor choice of phrase given the company involved), then they may well decide that they don't want to leave their money there until it disappears in insolvency. So the natural thing to do is to sell your shareholding for whatever someone else (with perhaps different priorities and outlook) will give you for them.

      Another thing to consider ... Have you ever put savings away in a savings account looking for a bit of interest ? Got a (non-state) pension ? If either of those is yes then YOU are an investor too ! In both of those cases, the financial institution(s) will be investing the money elsewhere in order to make a return to pay you interest or grow your pension.

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Normal misleading

    I don't think that Boeing deliberately mislead anyone, this entire mess just looked like a typical error these days. The designers screwed up, busy trying to make the design update that the corporate management told them was a required big improvement and the workers doing the verification were probably told what the results were supposed to be by the managers ...

    "You say that doesn't work, you've screwed up the verification! Do it again you snivelling, miserable coward, to show it works!"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Normal misleading

      Boeing got caught with emails from their test pilot saying "we managed totally pull the wool over the eyes of the FAA - aren't we awesome !"

      Hopefully they have learned their lesson = never brag about breaking the law on a corporate email system

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Normal misleading

        Sadly it will be the only lesson learned...

        So next time they design a system that is not fit to put into a plane in order to save investor's money, and more people die, there won't be any proof...

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Normal misleading

      Oh no, no no... They misled people. They are fully aware of what they were doing. They tried to cut corners to catch up to Airbus. They compromised safety. They knew it. They hid it. It backfired and bit them in the ass.

      And now they're paying piddly amounts to make it go away.

      1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

        Re: Normal misleading

        They aren't making it go away - this piddling little amount is just one tiny little case which is ONLY about misleading investors.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Normal misleading

          There were a lot of discussions in every pilot blog that I was reading, and some newspapers too when the 737 MAX was first flown, that the the design was dangerously "efficient" and the engines were far too close to the runway when the plane took off or landed so I guess the investors were busy just selling their investment abilities, not researching what everyone in the industry was saying and the 737 MAX was doing.

    3. Horst U Rodeinon

      Re: Normal misleading

      You deserve all the down votes because you expressed nothing but opinions with no supporting facts.

      The System Safety Hazard Analysis pointed to the problem and is used to identify problems requiring correction but management made the decision to squelch that report. The blame rests solely on the shoulders of upper management and the Board of Directors, all of whom were more intent on pleasing Wall Street than ensuring proper engineering of the aircraft.

      There was a documentary on Netflix titled "Downfall" which was very thorough in dissecting what went wrong. I don't know if it's still accessible, but it is worth watching if you can find it.

      I have first hand experience with SSHA's and the Boeing Company. I was gone from there long before this tragic fiasco erupted.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Normal misleading

        >There was a documentary on Netflix titled "Downfall" which was very thorough in dissecting what went wrong.

        Boeing invaded Russia in winter and then the CEO shot himself in a bunker ?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Normal misleading

          No, that's old fashioned gentlemanly and honourable (or cowards!) way out.

          The modern disruptive methods are to deny it ever happened and when the proof it DID happen is overwhelming, blame a rogue (or rouge!) engineer!

  5. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Boeing takes it in the shorts

    Not debating Boeing screwed up. But there is more to the 737 Max MCAS problem than the manufacturer.

    Airlines wanted to get the Max in service with a minimum amount of expensive pilot training. They wanted to take a NextGen pilot, give them limited training (ie: no simulator time), and go flying. The airlines are Boeing's customers, so they cannot come out and say 'This is what the customer wanted'. There are only so many airlines to go around, and pissing them off negatively impacts future sales.

    So Boeing has to take the public hit and accept responsibility, protecting their customers.

    1. ChoHag Silver badge

      Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

      They can say "that will kill people, we won't do it".

      They can say "we knew that what the customer wanted would kill people, but we took their money anyway".

      But they didn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

        They didn't say it, but did it anyway

    2. First Light

      Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

      You're being too generous. In their panic to compete with the A320neo, instead of creating a decent design Boeing forced through an inferior design and fixed its problems with a software bodge that they told no one about. They have only themselves to blame for falling behind the curve in the airplane market and then creating a kludge that cost people's lives.

      1. rcxb Silver badge

        Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

        Boeing was building other, more fuel efficient aircraft. However, airlines didn't want them because they weren't labeled "737". There are costly training requirements that airlines can avoid by staying on the same major model of aircraft.

        American Airline basically blackmailed Boeing into creating the 737MAX, placing an order for a non-existent higher efficiency 737 that Boeing had not planned or started developing. Honestly, there's nothing wrong with Boeing relenting and building the 737MAX. They simply tried to cut corners (MCAS using just a single AoA sensor), maximize profits (charging extra to include an indicator that shows when AoA sensors disagree), and going to great lengths to claim there was zero pilot training needed on 737MAX's new systems (like how to disable the MCAS). If Boeing hadn't been quite as greedy, the 737MAX would have been a perfectly fine, safe aircraft.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

          I thought it was only in IT that salespeople were able to sell something that didn't exit and then go to the engineers and say "you have to deliver this to the customer in 6 month"?

        2. LogicGate Silver badge

          Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

          If Boeing hadn't been quite as greedy, the 737MAX would still have been an aircraft that could not have acheived certification with today's certification rules. The whole concept of the 737 MAX was made possibly by grandfathering in the use of an outdated ruleset from the days when the 737 was first designed.

          And nevertheless, even with some aircraft using obsolete rules, Aviation remains a remarkably safe way to travel....

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

      Poor hapless Boeing were pressured by the evil airlines into criminal actions they had no choice but to make? What insane garbage! Boeing coldly and deliberately cheated, lied and concealed in order to upstage Airbus and offer a shot that looked better but broke the law. That is US Department of Justice official, so we can say it here. It is an act of criminality unique in the annals of aviation, and 110% the fault of the criminal.

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Boeing takes it in the shorts

      They cut corners to make it work for their customers. They knew MCAS was needed. They should've gone back to Southwest, American and the others and said "sorry folks, but without MCAS it doesn't fly the way the old ones did, so you *will* have to do some more training to make your pilots aware of the system and how to fix things if they go wrong".

      They didn't. They continued to lie. They even deceived their customers about it all because they tried to hide MCAS and not mention it at all to anyone.

  6. ChoHag Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    In one day we have people upset that scientists are torturing cockroaches, and another page of people defending Boeing's murder of over 300 people.

    1. First Light

      Re: Ethics

      I spoke up for the cockroaches, and I'm speaking up for Boeing's victims also.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

        Re: Ethics

        So you are speaking up for the stockholders?

        (the others were bloody foreigners, so of no concern to the USA)

        1. sreynolds

          Re: Ethics

          So are you saying that all planes should be tested in the developing world?

          1. ChoHag Silver badge

            Re: Ethics

            That seems to be Boeing's preference.

  7. 9Rune5

    Fear of flying

    Years ago I bought Flight Simulator: X and first thing I did was picking the largest jet I could get my hands on and attempted a take off. Two minutes later FS told me that I had put the aircraft under too much stress (full throttle!) and that my flight had been duly terminated (i.e. crashed).

    It was then my fear of flying started developing. Up until that point I blindly assumed that you'd really have to do something stupid (poor maintenance, head straight into a large building or mountain or drink heavily prior to taking the controls) to end up in a ditch.

    To challenge faith further I eventually picked up the habit of watching various youtube channels. Most notably "Mentour Pilot" and "74Gear". Especially Mentour Pilot has been somewhat of an eye opener. In the latest crash investigation video he tells the story of an armenian airbus that is lost at sea since both aviators were incompetent. Incompetent the same way most humans are incompetent.

    I find it more and more difficult to trust aviators. If I knew that the pilots flying were regularly watching Mentour Pilot as well, that would greatly ease my concerns.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fear of flying

      I suggest reading Sully's book. He describes at length the training that pilots take before and during their flying careers. As an important note, he detests the phrase "miracle on the Hudson" because it was no miracle -- it was continual training in preparation for potential problems.

      1. 9Rune5

        Re: Fear of flying

        There are simply too many facepalm moments to ignore.

        Even if you trust the machines themselves (max-cough), you also need to not only trust that the pilot is capable of actually flying, but also that he/she is capable of communicating with his/her colleague.

        One incident that ended up in the soup had both pilots trying to fly the plane in opposite directions. One pilot was also tilting down whereas the other was (accidentally?) pushing down a little as well: Slow descent into the sea despite plenty of time passing to correct their mistake. I suspect both pilots had received a lot of training. (received but not necessarily understood any of it)

        I don't mind flying myself. What bothers me is the thought of putting my family on an aircraft.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "little more than an administrative expense"

    Just as well. This is punishment for misleading investors shareholders. Unless it's a personal charge on Boeing management or directors* it's shareholders' money. Shareholders are being fined for having been mislead.

    * Or cab be recovered from them by shareholders.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Boeing actively misled the FAA

    I suggest that commentards read "Flying Blind" or the final Senate report (the latter freely available) before making comments.

    1. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Boeing actively misled the FAA

      I absolutely second Flying Blind. As much as I was already aware of Boeing's mess before Flying Blind and the final Senate report, Flying Blind is a *must-read* on understanding Boeing's management (and be concerned).

  10. HumPet

    There were people on these planes, you know.

    There was Danica Olexová - a Slovak 42-year old project manager working for a charitable organization Dobra Novina (Good News) who helped poor people in Kenya and Tanzania (building schools, water wells, providing micro-loans to individuals to start their small businesses).

    [ ]

    There was a whole family of Slovak member of parliament, Antona Hrnko - he lost a wife, a daughter and a son.

    [ ]


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