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Ryanair closing in on culprits behind $50m bomb threat

By John Mulligan

Published 09/05/2016

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary
Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary

Ryanair has been given permission by a Los Angeles court to force US communications giants Sprint and Verizon to divulge records as the airline hunts down anonymous Twitter users who threatened to blow up its aircraft and demanded $50m.

Ryanair has been pursuing the unknown individuals since earlier this year, and launched a lawsuit against them in Los Angeles as Twitter is based in California.

The airline is seeking punitive damages, special damages and costs, but has not put a ceiling on how much it will seek. However, since launching the lawsuit against as many as 100 unknown individuals in February, Ryanair has been unable to ascertain their actual identities.

In February, Ryanair won permission to serve a subpoena on Twitter requesting subscriber information. The responses led to another subpoena being served on Google.

"IP (internet protocol) addresses belonging to the defendants were produced by Twitter and Google," Ryanair's lawyer added in newly-filed court documents. Some of the IP addresses are hosted by both Verizon and Sprint.

The court has now granted permission to Ryanair to serve subpoenas on both telecoms giants in an effort to trace the individuals who made the threats against it.

The judge in charge of the case approved the order, saying there was "good cause" to grant Ryanair's application.

Some of the IP addresses appear to trace back to Pittsburgh in the United States.

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