Kevin Halligen, 'conman' accused of defrauding McCanns, arrested at hotel in Oxford
A 48-year-old man wanted by the FBI who allegedly defrauded people across the world, including the Madeleine McCann fund, was arrested last night at a hotel in Oxford.
Kevin Halligen, from Surrey, was hired by the Find Madeleine fund as a security consultant. His Washington-based company, Oakley International, was awarded a six-month £500,000 contract by the fund, but Mr Halligen allegedly disappeared with £300,000.
He had allegedly boasted that his contacts in the US capital could provide high-tech satellite imagery to help the search.
He is also said to have made £1 million from links with Trafigura, the controversial Dutch company accused of causing mass illness after waste was dumped on the Ivory Coast.
According to The Sun, Mr Halligen booked into the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford with an old girlfriend under the alias Richard Stratton. A source told the newspaper that the couple were preparing to leave in a taxi when police arrived and arrested him.
Thames Valley Police last night confirmed that a 48-year-old man was arrested at the Old Bank Hotel on suspicion of fraud after a discrepancy in his hotel bill. He was being held last night in the city and it is reported that a court hearing related to his extradition will take place later today.
Two weeks ago, he was indicted in the US on charges of wire fraud and money laundering over a false contract with lawyers acting on behalf of Trafigura.
A report from the FBI said that he was wanted for conning the law firm of $2.1 million (£1.26 million) between November 2006 and January 2007. He had supposedly promised to use the funds to secure the release of two of the company’s executives, but allegedly fled and used the money to buy a mansion.
Having left a string of creditors in his wake, Dublin-born Mr Halligen’s debts are estimated to amount to £3 million. Though he is known as Halligen, the name on his birth certificate is said to be spelt with an “a”.
He allegedly fooled individuals at the highest echelons of the security business and tricked friends by claiming that he had worked for a string of intelligence organisations in Britain and the US. He is also said to have claimed that he briefed the Pentagon on Iraq.
A spokesman for the McCann family said: “Our association with Halligen and Oakley International ended well over a year ago. Given that an arrest has been made it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”
According to the FBI indictment, Mr Halligen told a law firm that he needed funds “to pay expenses incurred in the United States to help secure the release of two executives of a client of the law firm who were arrested in the country of Ivory Coast” but instead spent the cash on a mansion in Great Falls, Virginia.
source: Times Online, 25.11.2009