Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One Of The Two Men Who Used Stolen Passports To Board The Missing Malaysian Airlines Plane Looked Like Mario Balotelli, Malaysian Officials Have Claimed.

Mario Balotelli(pictured left), Italian tourist Luigi Maraldi, 37, shows his current passport during a press conference at a police station in Phuket island, southern Thailand. One of the passengers on the missing plane travelled on the stolen passport of Mr Maraldi
One of the two men who used stolen passports to board the missing Malaysian Airlines plane looked like Mario Balotelli, authorities reveal.

Yet, hours later, a fresh report has emerged claiming that the pair were in fact Iranian nationals on a quest to flee their country's oppressive regime.

That seems to tie in with an earlier announcement by Thai officials that an Iranian businessman called Kazem Ali had booked the tickets for the two passengers.

But it contradicts a suggestion by Malaysia's civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman that the men who boarded the plane were not of 'Asian appearance'.

Asked by a reporter what they looked like 'roughly', he said: 'Do you know of a footballer by the name of (Mario) Balotelli? He is an Italian. Do you know how he looks like?'

A reporter then asked, 'Is he black?' and the aviation chief replied, 'Yes'.

The latest report, by BBC Persian, quotes a Iranian friend of one of the men who says he hosted them in Kuala Lumpur after they arrived from Tehran.

They bought fake passports in the Malaysian capital to travel to Europe and claim asylum, he claimed. After reaching Beijing, the destination of flight MH370, the pair were said to have intended to carry on to Amsterdam.

One had planned to then travel to Frankfurt, to join his mother there, while the other wanted to continue on to Denmark. They were 'looking for a place settle', an editor at BBC Persian told The Telegraph.

The latest developments came as authorities had yesterday still found no trace of the missing plane despite searches by ships from six navies and dozens of military aircraft.

A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers has now said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, it has been reported.

The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as 'Mr Ali' had asked her to book tickets for the two men on March 1.

She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and on March 6, Mr Ali had asked her to book them again.

She told the Financial Times she did not think Mr Ali, who paid her in cash and booked tickets with her regularly, was linked to terrorism.