Catch Carlos If You Can

A mysterious Twitter persona launched one of the most enduring Moscow-friendly hoaxes of the MH17 airline tragedy. We found the ex-convict behind the lie.

in early may 2014, as ukraine’s conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east was exploding into all-out war, the Spanish-language channel of Russia’s state-funded RT network brought on a guest to discuss the crisis.

Seemingly in his 30s or 40s, he sported a blue-and-white-striped Puma polo shirt, a five-o’clock shadow, and short brown hair slightly tousled on his forehead. RT Spanish identified the man as “Carlos,” a Spaniard the network described as an air-traffic controller who “had been working in Ukraine for five years.” He had agreed to speak on the condition that his name not be used, RT Spanish said. His face was blurred to guard his anonymity.