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Boeing Criminal Probe Rare in U.S. for a Planemaker After Crash

March 20, 2019, 2:22 PM

There’s little precedent for planemakers like Boeing Co. facing U.S. criminal charges over deadly crashes, though there may be risks of prosecution if the company lied to regulators about the safety of its 737 Max jets.

Federal authorities began a criminal probe of the certification process for the new 737 Max planes, after the first of two catastrophic crashes since October. Prosecutions are unusual following U.S. air disasters, where investigators tend to focus on determining the cause of a crash so it can be fixed.

“We want to encourage people to come forward and admit mistakes, free from fear of ...