The Pentagon has launched an investigation into US Assistant Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan for allegedly favoring his former employer Boeing.
The Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense will deal with the case after a complaint from a monitoring group.
Mr. Shanahan is accused of praising Boeing at meetings of government contracts and acquisitions.
Mr. Shanahan, who denies any wrongdoing, spent 30 years with Boeing.
He rose in the ranks of the leader of the world's largest planemaker.
Last week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Pentagon Inspector General regarding Mr. Shanahan.
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The complaint alleged breaches of ethical rules "promoting Boeing as part of its official duties … and belittling the company's competitors to its subordinates".
Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the Inspector General, said in a statement Wednesday: "The Department of Defense's Inspectorate has decided to investigate complaints recently received that reigning Secretary Patrick Shanahan has allegedly taken action to his former employer Boeing and denigrating its competitors. "
Mr. Shanahan said last week during a hearing of the Senate Armed Forces Committee support an investigation by the Inspector General.
Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, a member of the panel, said she had made calls for investigation. [1
The investigation casts a shadow over Mr. Shanahan as the White House is considering formally nominating him to fill the left-wing defense post vacant of Jim Mattis, who resigned in December.
Boeing is under pressure following the fatal crash of one of its 737 Max 8 passenger jets in Ethiopia last week.
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Another passenger plane crashed in Indonesia last October, killing everyone on board.
According to the Seattle Times, the FBI is investigating the process that has resulted in the aircraft receiving its safety certification.
The US Department of Justice has refused to comment on allegations that it has reviewed Federal Aviation Administration oversight of Boeing.