Money appears to have been taken without proper authorization from the bank accounts of some passengers who were on Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which disappeared on March 8 along with the more than 200 people on board and has not been found since.
About 111,000 Malaysian ringgit, or the equivalent of more than $35,000 U.S. dollars, was taken from bank accounts a few missing passengers, according to the South China Morning Post.
“Do they realize some of those missing passengers are the sole breadwinners of their families and that they need that money?” Lokman Mustafa, the sister of a passenger on MH370, told the newspaper. “I am angry to hear this news.”
The South China Morning Post reported that Malaysian police said the money held at the same bank, which is not being named publicly, was taken in July.
“The money was taken via ATM and Internet bank transfer to a third party. We are investigating this case,” Kuala Lumpur Commercial Crime Investigation Department Chief Assistant Commissioner Izany Abdul Ghany told the newspaper, adding that they will review CCTV footage to try and get to the bottom of the withdrawals. “Whoever did this is taking advantage of the situation and adding to the suffering of the victims’ families.”
On Friday, Ghany confirmed to the Malaysian newspaper the Star that a banker and her husband were arrested for suspected connection to the missing money. Police also are searching for a Pakistani man who could be involved as well. While other outlets reported that four accounts had money withdrawn, the Star reported that authorities clarified that three MH370 passengers’ accounts were stolen from and the money was transferred into the account of a fourth MH370 passenger.
While the authorities continue to investigate the case involving the missing money, the search for the airplane with 239 people on board is still ongoing as well, though little news has been made public in the last couple of months of any possible developments.
MH370 veered off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March and is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean far off the west Australian coast. The search area changed several times, but no sign of the aircraft, or its passengers and crew, has been found.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
This story has been updated to include more information.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.