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Madeleine McCann detective facing £1m fraud charge

By Daniel Boffey and Mark Hollingsworth
Last updated at 10:15 PM on 21st November 2009

A private detective whose company was paid up to £500,000 from publicly donated funds to find Madeleine McCann has been charged with fraud.

Kevin Halligen, 48, is wanted in America by the FBI for allegedly conning a law firm out of £1.3 million by claiming he could help free two men jailed in war-torn Africa. It is claimed he instead spent the money on a mansion.

However, he has not been arrested because US officials do not know where he is.

In another case, a US court has ordered Halligen to repay a loan of £2million to a business partner. And a British lawyer is claiming £1.3million after investing in Halligen’s company but receiving no return on the cash.

Halligen’s firm, Oakley International, was hired by the Madeleine Fund but was dropped after six months over claims he was making little progress and spending too much.

Halligen, who claims a wealth of contacts in the British security services and FBI, said he had infiltrated a paedophile ring in Belgium. He regularly visited Kate and Gerry McCann to give updates on the hunt for Madeleine, who was three when she vanished from a holiday flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

In the months after Halligen was ditched four investigators demanded another £200,000 from the fund claiming they had not been paid by him. Halligen’s indictment is likely to dismay thousands who gave money to the Madeleine Fund.

A document filed in the District Court of Columbia claims Halligen took money saying his firm could help secure the release of two executives from the Dutch company Trafigura imprisoned in the Ivory Coast in 2007. The men were arrested following the alleged unloading of toxic waste.

Halligen is said to have proposed a rescue operation by flying in South African mercenaries but it was later cancelled. The men were freed a few months later following a reported £120million payment.

Halligen was last seen in Italy and has allegedly left a trail of debts in America. The Madeleine Fund received more than £1million in donations after her disappearance but was hugely depleted by Halligen’s services. There are concerns the fund will be empty by the end of this year.

The McCanns had previously hired Barcelona-based detective agency Metodo 3 on a reported £50,000 a month. But the company lost credibility with the couple when its head of operations claimed he knew who had kidnapped Madeleine and hoped to have her home by Christmas.

After Halligen, the McCanns hired two former British detectives, David Edgar and Arthur Cowley. In August, Mr Edgar appealed for sightings of an Australian ‘Victoria Beckham lookalike’. But a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed the detectives had failed to make the most basic of inquiries in Barcelona where the woman was seen.

The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, insisted the fund had not been duped. Two phone numbers previously used by Halligen were answered by a man who said he had no idea who Kevin Halligen was.

in Daily Mail

Related: 'A Censurable Censure' and 'Mark Hollingsworth Investigates The McCann Files'

First Published here:  Former McCann detective Kevin Halligen Indicted for Fraud and Money laundering


  1. So Dave "Oh the PJ did such a poor job" Edgar, I think you're going to be next...

    Is this Halligen the man whose lawyers sent a letter some time ago to Joana asking her to protect his identity ?

    Like someone mentioned in a previous post this cannot be just a coincidence: Mccanns connected to Halligen and Carter-Ruck, Carter Ruck connected to Trafigura and now Halligen connected to Trafigura...

  2. Oh Dear Poor Kate and Gerry connected to Lies and fraud Never Woosh Woosh all the money gone.

  3. It just get's worse and worse.

    Quote: "The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, insisted the fund had not been duped."

    So they were in on it then?


  4. Et un et deux et trois !!! I love the way the Mail reports that with an air of detachment.
    And about Mitchell:
    "The McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, insisted the fund had not been duped." He is perfectly right, for they knew very well that they were employing swindlers.

  5. Is this the beginning of the end ??

    Can't Gordon get anything right ?

  6. "Clarence Mitchell insisted the fund had not been duped". Oh! well not to worry then.

    This remark by Mitchell should be added to his other "never to be forgotten" Quotes by Clarence Mitchell on the home page.

    On the other hand, if the fund has not been duped, does Mitchell mean the McCanns knew all along about this detective. They did drop him after six months because he made little progress and was spending too much.

  7. OMG, the McCann's sound and act false and in turn they attract the most devious of people claiming to help them, and it turns out they are ALL out to bleed them dry, they kept Metodo3 on far longer than they should have, they were crooks...what a tangled web eh!

    The McCann's don't seem to be very good judges of character, they seem gullable, and they also can't seem to grasp WHY some public members just DON'T trust them and DON'T believe their version of events.....what a viscious circle they are in....they should do the reconstruction NOW, aswell as a lie detector test, it would be better for their public image than the fruitless tactics they have used up to now.

  8. They didn't need the fund in the first place - or a spokesman either for that matter.

    All they had to do was co-operate with law enforcement (no need for private investigators) but of course that would have meant answering ALL questions.

  9. 'There are concerns that the fund will be empty by the end of this year'.

    So this news has arrived just in time for that, as I'm sure there will be plenty of people around who will donate yet more money to the McCanns.

    No chance the McCanns will sell their house and buy one a bit smaller, or something like that to raise funds then?

    Can't expect that of the well off McCanns, can we.

    Have these people ever spent one single penny of their own money in this so called search?


    So why should people far less wealthy than them do so!

  10. The Daily Mail is NOT taking comments on this one...I wonder why?(not...) Mail readers have not been sparing their thoughts and their criticism about the "wonder couple" and this whole saga on their latest McCann related articles.

  11. Agree with comment 7 - it should come as no surprise that this devious couple attract equally devious individuals.

  12. Could 'the old window-washer' have been washing more than windows?

    It looks like this house of cards could be brought down by filthy lucre.....oops....I mean laundered lucre.

    Those who rob others should expect to get robbed themselves. Foul thieves, the lot of them!

  13. Lets hope this Kevin Halligen will spill the beans,a case of save your own skin, is this the House of Cards that Mr Amaral speaks about. I dont believe that this is the Christmas begging bowl, as Im sure that people are now questioning G&K as already said they have had the best Lawyers and PR advisers and Government help, why would they keep using dodgy PI's.........No this is the start of the end for them now, the net is closing in.

  14. Halligen the "American Metodo 3"..... :))
    Gimme a break

  15. They have not been duped - they planned it as a money laundering operation. In my humble opinion, of course.

    If they had been duped - then they have been duped at least twice and probably 3 times in exactly the same way. The McCanns may be heartless unscrupulous evil scumbags (in my humble opinion, of course) but stupid they are not. They would not be taken in thrice by essentially the same scam.

    It is their scam that they are running. These dodgy detective agencies are part of it. They have everyone focused on how they have been victimised; in fact they are making fools of the whole world and laughing all the way to the bank. Madeleine is an irrelevant accessory to them. All in my humble opinion.

    May justice prevail, though it take years...

  16. What is the British police waiting for? Didn't it ever rang a bell those fat fat fat payments to Método 3, and then to this swindler Halligen? The scandalous squandering of money received from pensioners and innocent children must be investigated.
    There is obviously foul play here but nobody seems to care (I mean the British police). These criminals need to be arrested.

  17. I read with interest today in the Sunday Times the article about Richard Helligen (Halligan), as someone who has an avid interest in exposing scam and con artists I drew comparisons with another practitioner of the art, a person I exposed 6 months ago, the similarities are amazingly similiar in there application, regardless of their profession, In the case of the person I exposed his claim was to be a financial expert, but his claims had the same effect as that of Halligen's. If you would like to compare the similarities they can be found at www.andrewsteelesmith.com

  18. If I were Halligan I would turn myself in to the FBI pronto in return for round the clock protection

  19. http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2009/11/madeleine-halligen-and-other-spooks.html
    This is worth reading.
    Could the McCanns have actually sold Madeleine to a pedophile ring?

  20. @ Post 19, I'm afraid I've reached the point where nothing will surprise me with those two!

  21. I'm still reeling at Gerry and his information about his two year old's addiction to sea bass.

    The nappies and rotting meat obviously weren't doing the trick.

  22. THE article is not strictly accurate,Halligan was hired by a holding company which was part of kennedys latium group but was wound up when oakley international first hit the headlines. Why would the fund not just pay their hirelings directly?

  23. Claro que o Fundo nao foi desfalcado. Os Mccann, sedentos por dinheiro nao abriam mao de uma quantia tao elevada. Negociaram com ele um valor simbolico, que para o trabalho e a despesa que ele tinha a fazer ( nenhum) ja era um bom valor e o resto passou das contas do Fundo para contas privadas de Kate e Gerry. Estes oportunistas, depois de terem ganho dinheiro tao facilmente e de saberem exactamente o que aconteceu a filha, nao desperdicam um centimo. O Dave Edgar, mesmo depois das criticas feitas pelos jornalistas a investigacao, nunca apareceu em Barcelona. Nao lhe pagaram a viagem. So pagaram as viagens a portugal porque foi pra tramarem G. Amaral, a procura de mais dinheiro facil.

    No entanto, tiveram a lata de apresentar este detective como o topo de gama na materia, e chamaram os jornais de sempre para fazerem manchetes, gozando com estes jornalistas que nao se cansam de adjectivar G. Amaral e os portugueses, enquanto sao profundamente insultados e adjectivados pelos Mccann e por Mitchell. CAMBADA DE JORNALISTAS OTARIOS... DEVIAM PINTAR A CARA DE VERGONHA!

    Continuem a contribuir para o Fundo, a pagar a imoralidade destes pais que sabem muito bem a idoneidade das pessoas com quem se metem. Nenhum detective competente se aproximava deles para investigar um caso onde ja estiveram envolvidos policias de topo de todo o mundo. Nem os Mccann querem detectives competentes porque esses tem codigos de etica e nao se deixam corromper por ninharias. Seria arriscado demais, contratarem detectives serios e a serio. Depressa percebiam o esquema e caiam fora, antes que fossem parar a prisao... depois, inumeros jornais pagariam uma fortuna para terem em primeira mao a historia do esquema dos Mccann.
    Pelo menos ficamos a saber a etica e a idoneidade de alguns escritorios de advogados, que em nome da moral e da defesa do bom nome dos seus constituintes, usam metodos imorais e se metem com a rale mais asquerosa da sociedade. Esperemos que o FBI nao se deixe corromper como se deixou a PGR portuguesa e que estes Mccann sejam apanhados nos meandros dos casos paralelos.

  24. Anon at 22

    Why don't the McCanns ever do things directly?

    They have spokespeople and representatives do it for them.

    Example, why did the PJ say that Clarence lies through every tooth in his head when really he is a paid spokesman for the McCanns. He is saying what they pay him to say.

    So perhaps the PJ should really have said that the McCanns lie through every tooth in their heads.

    They always manage to distance themselves from the blame.


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