Flight 370 Iran Link? Mysterious ‘Mr. Ali’ Booked Tickets With Stolen Passports, Travel Agent Says

Was the Flight 370 disappearance somehow connected to Iran? A Thai travel agent now says that the man who purchased two tickets for travelers who ended up on Flight 370 traveling with stolen passports was an Iranian identified only as “Mr. Ali.”

There is little, if any, evidence to link any group to what appears to be the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane, and in fact, whether it vanished due to a terrorist act or something else remains a total mystery.

Thai Police identified the Iranian ticket-buyer as Kazem Ali. They said he booked the tickets by phone, but either he or someone else paid in cash.

Benjaporn Krutnait of a travel agency known as Grand Horizon in Pattaya, Thailand, said she had know the mysterious Iranian man for about three years and would often book tickets for him. She believes that he acted as an intermediary, taking a fee for arranging travel for his clients.

The two passengers who were traveling with stolen Italian and Austrian passports were not originally booked on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. At first, Ali had Krutnait book them on discount flights to Europe. But when their original tickets expired, Krutnait booked the pair on a discount flight through Beijing.

That flight turned out to be Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The two passengers booked by Ali were headed to Amsterdam, with Beijing merely a stopover.

Does the emergence of the shadowy Kazem Ali mean that Iran is somehow linked to the disappearance of Flight 370? Krutnait does not believe so. She told Britain’s Financial Times that the Iranian man seemed only to want the cheapest tickets available and the fact that the his two alleged “friends” were not originally booked on Flight 370 would seem to indicate that there was no plot against that specific Malaysian Airlines plane — at least not one involving Kazen Ali.

But as with all aspects of the Flight 370 investigation so far, there remain far more questions than answers.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that he has seen surveillance video of the two men who boarded Flight 370 with the stolen passports. While it had earlier been reported that one of the men was now identified, Rahman did not confirm that report.

But Rahman did describe the two as “non-Asian” in appearance. Pressed by reporters, he said that they were black men.

On Sunday, a previously unknown Chinese group calling itself “Chinese Martyrs Brigade,” sent a mass-email to media claiming credit for the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The message read, “You kill one of our clan, we will kill 100 of you as pay back.”

Officials, however, appear to believe the message to be a hoax, and point out that any theories about the fate of Flight 370 remain pure speculation.