Local August 29, 2014 | 12:43 pm

Authorities probe Malaysia Airlines suspect

Santo Domingo.- US authorities are probing and Iranian citizen under arrest in the Dominican Republic since May 2013 for possible ties with a terrorist group that could be linked to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 last March.

In June 2014, Dominican prosecutors asked for custody after confirming that Ali Bitazar, 34, was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), eldia.com.do reported. He is being held at the San Pedro de Macoris jail by decision of the National District Court of Appeals’ Penal Chamber.

The suspect was arrested for importing US hi-tech equipment that could be used to reroute airplanes and is accused of threatening national security and the security of other nations in violation of domestic and international laws.

According to the paper, authorities say Bitazar acted in complicity with Dominican customs agent Juan Fidel Santos who replaced the motherboard of the imported equipment at the Las Americas International Airport in return for a payment.

National Investigations Department (DNI) agents discovered that Bitazar had plans to travel to Panama for six months to complete an undetermined project. The report states that the motherboard was sent to Dubai via courier companies and then on to Malaysia.

According to Hoy newspaper, Bitazar owns Codex Solutions, a company that purchased electronic equipment and software in order to remove the motherboards to be sent to Iran. The suspect is also the owner of the Sonido, a taxi company that operated together with Dominicans Grisalda Sanchez Castro and Juan Fidel Santos.

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