Dutch cop arrested on suspicion of selling MH17 crash items online

People talk near the remains of fuselage of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, near the village of Grabovo in Donetsk region, September 9, 2014. © Marko Djurica
A Dutch police officer has been arrested on suspicion of allegedly selling items from the downed MH17 plane, which crashed in eastern Ukraine in July 2014. The man reportedly placed the items, including a piece of the plane, on the auction site Marktplaats.

The law enforcement officer was taken in for questioning after it emerged he had tried to sell items found at the crash site, local media reports. He was arrested on suspicion of embezzlement, Dutch police announced on Sunday.

The police officer had allegedly tried to sell a piece of the plane, a Malaysia Airlines packet of tissues, as well as clothing used by a crash site investigator who was at the site of the wreckage in eastern Ukraine.

The man was looking to sell the collection for a total of €1,500 (US$1,586), Dutch television station NOS reported.

Police are now trying to understand which of the items put on the website were actually from the crash site.

Investigators have refused to reveal the officer’s name or give any more details about the case. However, regional news channel RTV Oost says that the police officer was a male from the town of Apeldoorn.

The public prosecutor’s office in the east of the Netherlands has also opened a criminal investigation into the case.

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A spokesperson for Marktplaats said that the advertisement, which was “objectionable and unethical,” was removed from the website last weekend, according to the Dutch newspaper AD. Representatives from the website also said they were fully cooperating with the police investigation, and that it was unclear if any of the items were sold.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board. An investigation by the Dutch Safety Board released on October 13, 2015, stated a BUK missile with a 3N314M warhead was responsible for downing the plane. It also noted that Ukrainian aviation regulators admitted that arms were in the east of Ukraine at the time of the incident which were capable of striking passenger aircraft.