MAINZ, Germany – A mysterious $30 million reward has been offered for evidence identifying those behind the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. Fraud investigation company Wifka said in a statement that it had been hired to look into the July 17 attack which brought down the Boeing 777, killing 298 people. The private investigators said clients requesting anonymity had offered the reward. Wifka vowed not to identify any whistle-blowers and offered to give informants new identities. The reward for "information and evidence" was being held in Switzerland, according to the firm's statement. The investigators said they wanted to establish facts including who shot down the plane, who gave the order, who covered it up and what happened to the weapon used.
Josef Resch, who runs Wifka, told NBC News on Wednesday that the offer was genuine and that the investigation was in full swing. Wifka advised would-be whistle-blowers "to take great care" and contact them through a lawyer, adding: "Details should not lightly be given away in emails or on the phone." Earlier, Resch reportedly told German financial magazine Capital that he was not fully aware of his clients’ identities, but had held several meetings about the case in different countries and that one of the middlemen had a Swiss accent. Resch offered different theories about who his clients might be, including the possibility of mega-rich Russians trying to hurt President Vladimir Putin’s reputation. Their offer was credible, he said, because the company had already received a fee of 40,000 euro (around $51,000). Resch had been promised a fee of 500,000 euro ($647,000) if the investigation proved successful, Capital magazine added.
- Carlo Angerer