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Boeing faces a fraud allegation after the 737 Max crashes

Boeing is facing a criminal charge of fraud over its handling of the 737 Max aircraft, which was involved in two fatal crashes.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged the aviation giant with one count of conspiracy to defraud the US government and its customers.

Boeing is accused of making false statements about the safety of its 737 Max aircraft, which were involved in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2019.

The DoJ said Boeing misled the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and airline customers about the safety of the aircraft, and failed to disclose known design issues that “could severely impact the plane’s safe operation”.

The charge carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Boeing has denied any wrongdoing and said that it will “vigorously defend itself” against the charge.

The company is also facing civil lawsuits from the families of the victims of the two crashes.

The criminal charge comes as Boeing is struggling to get its 737 Max back in the air after it was grounded following the two fatal crashes.

The FAA has said it expects the plane to be approved to fly again by the end of this year.