Monday, 26 October 2015

The McCanns, a load of dodgy detectives and £100,000

Following on from the reports yesterday that a polish man, who had been cleared by Portuguese police of any involvement in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, had now handed a great wad of photographs to the Sunday Mirror, today we have 2 whistleblowers and the case of the swindled £100,000.

According to The Sun, the Find Madeleine Fund was ripped off to the tune of £100,000 by someone who was paid to help the search for Madeleine, but who used the money to fund his own lifestyle. This information was handed to The Sun by two whistleblowers and it has now been passed to the McCanns.

So, who might this terrible person be? The McCanns have employed various organisations over the eight years since Madeleine disappeared. When they were in Portugal, they hired Control Risks Group, an organisation which is usually involved with helping companies to set up in areas of the world that are a bit risky and then helping them get out if trouble arises. Why the McCanns should use that company is open to speculation. However, according to The McCann Files (24/09/2007)

A private security firm has been secretly investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann for four months because her parents feared that Portuguese police were failing properly to search for their daughter.Control Risks Group (CRG) is believed to have been checking reported sightings of Madeleine from around the world and building up profiles of likely abductors.

Firstly, it is illegal in Portugal for a private investigation to take place while there is an on-going police investigation. Maybe that's why the investigation was secret. Who knows, but it was, ostensibly an illegal activity. Secondly, why employ a company that was usually involved with corporate security. If CRG ever did very much, it certainly didn't help the investigation, unless it was CRG who found all the sightings of Madeleine all over the world.

Then there was the Spanish outfit, Metodo3. No previous experience in looking for missing children, but the McCanns paid them a handsome monthly fee out of the fund. Metodo3 were accused of paying witnesses in Morocco (this blog), embezzlement and money laundering (this blog) attempted murder (this blog) and theft of cocaine from a Barcelona dockyard. (The Telegraph) Now, I reckon that lot were a bit dodgy, but they were probably paid well in excess of £100,000 and amazingly, Kate and Gerry said that Metodo3 had done some good work. Go figure!

Next! Well, next came Kevin Halligen.

A conman who set up a firm to search for Madeleine McCann has denied he funded a lavish lifestyle using cash donated by the public.

Supporters of Kate and Gerry McCann handed over around £300,000 to Kevin Halligen's Washington-based company, but his contract was terminated early and he was later convicted of fraud in America on a separate matter. (The Mirror 3/06/2014)

Now there's an accusation about funding a "lavish lifestyle," but the McCanns claim that he was paid £300,000, not £100,000. If the whistleblowers are referring to Halligen and he did indeed rip off the fund to the tune of £100,000, where did the other £200,000 go that Kate and Gerry say was paid to him?  So, were the McCanns unlucky enough to have two men, separately, rip them off for mega bucks to fund a lavish lifestyle?  And who was the other man? Maybe they should have done some investigating themselves before throwing money at dodgy geezas!

And finally (I think!) Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, otherwise known as Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley. Retired Cheshire detective Edgar and his sidekick Cowley, worked from an office in a house in Knutsford and don't appear to have done very much at all. In August 2009 Mirror writer Tom Wordon asked why the McCann detectives didn't ask more questions when they went to Barcelona to investigate that strange case of the "Victoria Beckham lookalike" who was allegedly hanging about in the vicinity of a marina waiting for someone to hand over a child to her. Apparently, Edgar sent a few detectives out there, but they failed to ask any questions of anyone who might have had contact with the suspicious woman. In fact they didn't ask anything of anybody at all by the sound of it.

Edgar and Clowley's weirdest bit of detecting, in my opinion, was when they declared that Madeleine was being held in a "hellish lair in a lawless village," near Praia da Luz, but somehow they weren't worried enough about her apparent suffering there to go and have a look.

However dodgy Edgar and Cowley were, sitting there in their little office in Knutsford, there is no report of their having gone on to be living a lavish lifestyle, so my money is not on them for the rip-off.

I don't know of any other people hired by the McCanns to search for their daughter. It may be that Halligen was only paid £100,000 by the McCanns, which could turn out to be rather embarrassing to say the least, since the fund was said to have paid him £300,000. Halligen is the only former contractor for the search who appears to have spent search money on his own lifestyle.

The McCanns haven't said that they know who this person is, who has defrauded the search fund, only that they would be willing to help with any investigation. If the two whistleblowers are friends of the McCanns, cynical me wonders if this is a ploy to garner sympathy and get some more cash pouring into the fund. If they are not friends of the McCanns, then perhaps this missing or ripped off £100,000 will turn out to have been paid to some anonymous searcher...or just someone anonymous! Who knows! I hope we'll find out.

Monday, 5 October 2015

"McCann fury as new libel cop case begins "

The Daily Star today laments how the poor McCanns are furious that so much money has been raised by "Internet trolls," to help Gonçalo Amaral launch his appeal against the decision of a civil court to award the McCanns a huge amount of money in damages against him. For a start, nothing new there: the McCanns seem to have been furious on quite a few occasions since their daughter disappeared into thin air.

So, what has the daily fish and chip wrapper said?

"They could help to strip the couple of £357,000 they hope to use to find her."
Now, is that the money they were hoping to get out of Gonçalo or the amount that they could have to pay in legal fees out of their handy pot of cash, the Find Madeleine Fund should Gonçalo succeed with his appeal?

"Ex-police chief Goncalo Amaral, 56, has been flooded with nearly £50,000 in public donations since he lost a libel hearing against Kate and Gerry McCann six months ago." Now that conjures up a strange picture. Gonçalo has been been "flooded." What with? A funnel? No, silly Mr Lawton, the account has been flooded! And since you have given the fund such good publicity, it now stands at over £50,000 and is rising steadily.

"The GoFundMe webpage donors include trolls who have abused the McCanns online." So, Jerry Lawton has been going through the list of donors and can identify people who have supposedly "abused the McCanns online"? Are those the people who have been asking awkward questions like, "Where is the proof of abduction?" Maybe he could ask the McCanns for a copy of the dossier that "the family" gave to the police, the one that got into the hands of Martin Brunt, who used it to doorstep Brenda Leyland. I doubt he'll actually want to read the sickeningly abusive messages to Brenda Leyland that were posted on Twitter by supporters of Kate and Gerry. Mr Lawton has firmly set himself on the side of those who are never going to accept any responsibility for the loss of their daughter and who instead are ready to sue anyone who contradicts their version of events.

"A friend of the couple admitted they were “exasperated” by the appeal and the source of its funding." Well, how awful for them that Gonçalo is able to exercise his legal right of appeal. And the source of its funding? The money donated to Gonçalo's defence fund will be used for the stated purpose. The money the McCanns are using to sue Gonçalo has come from the money donated by the public to help the search for Madeleine. So, the McCanns making a statement about the source of funding seems rather hypocritical to say the least.

"It seems strange indeed these people may be indirectly able to influence civil court proceedings. Kate and Gerry are exasperated.” Yes, I imagine that they are rather exasperated. They must have thought they had Gonçalo by the proverbial short and curlies since they have had his assets frozen. Thousands of people donating to the appeal fund have proved them wrong and left them "exasperated." Those who have given to the fund will not, of course, influence civil court proceedings, either directly or indirectly. What they are influencing is whether or not a Portuguese citizen is able to exercise his rights in law, a right the McCanns would take from him if they could.

May justice prevail for Dr Amaral and for Madeleine McCann and all those people like Brenda Leyland. They, and not Kate and Gerry, are the victims of this saga.