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Boeing tells DOJ it did not violate deal after 737 MAX crashes, source says

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is seen on the side of a Boeing 737 MAX at the Farnborough International Airshow

(Reuters) - Boeing told the U.S. Justice Department it did not violate a deferred prosecution agreement after fatal crashes involving the 737 MAX, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The U.S. planemaker was responding to a Justice Department determination in May that Boeing violated a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). The DPA had shielded the company from a criminal charge arising from fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed 346 people.

"We'll decline to comment on any specific communications with the Justice Department, however, we continue to engage transparently with the Department, as we have throughout the term of the agreement," a Boeing spokesperson told Reuters.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

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The Justice Department found in May that Boeing had failed to "design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws throughout its operations," according to a court filing.

However, Reuters earlier this month reported that Boeing executives are unlikely to be criminally charged over fatal crashes as the statute of limitations has likely passed.

Prosecutors have until July 7 to inform a federal judge in Texas of their plans, which could include proceeding with a criminal case and negotiating a plea deal with Boeing, according to a person familiar with the matter, court filings and correspondence that Reuters reviewed. Short of a prosecution, the Justice Department could also extend the DPA a year.

Boeing had earlier said it believes it has "honored the terms of the agreement" and looks forward to responding to the Justice Department.

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Nilutpal Timsina; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)