In this leaflet: “Meet the McCann Team”
· Details about the main members of the McCann Team
· We name the 10 main private detectives used by the McCanns
· How the McCanns have spent the money you kindly donated to them
· The four dodgy McCann detectives who have all spent time in jail
This leaflet is a follow-up to our well-received earlier leaflet on the reported disappearance of Madeleine McCann, titled: “50 facts about the case that the British media are not telling you”. The British mainstream media continue to cover up facts concerning Madeleine’s disappearance. Our second leaflet takes a close look at the people behind the McCanns’ campaign, and the strange people - some of them criminals - that they’ve used in what they say is a genuine search to find their missing daughter. You can see a video of our earlier leaflet on YouTube, in 4 parts, at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnXtYSeXSiw
In our earlier leaflet, we asked this question: “Can we be sure that Madeleine McCann really was abducted by a stranger?” Once again, we invite you to take a careful look at these facts about the case, most of which you won’t mentioned or analysed in any of our mainstream media. We have added some references and links in case you may wish to look further into this controversial case. When you’ve read the leaflet, please pass it on to your friends and contacts so that they too can read all the information in it. We have numbered our points from No. 51 onwards, as this leaflet is a continuation of our first one in this series.
51. There have always been three main people supporting the McCanns throughout:
(a) Their chief public relations spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, former head of Tony Blair’s Media Monitoring Unit, who once boasted that his job was ‘to control what comes out in the media’
(b) Their ‘co-ordinating lawyer’ throughout, Edward Smethurst, a high-profile lawyer, multi-millionaire businessman and property-owner from Rochdale, high-ranking Freemason and past ‘Grand Master’, and
(c) Multi-millionaire Cheshire businessman and owner of Sale Sharks Rugby club, Brian Kennedy.
WBro Edward Smethurst
Edward Smethurst is not only the McCanns’ chief lawyer (they have used over 20 different lawyers so far), but is also a Director of the controversial ‘Find Madeleine’ Fund. This is not a charity but is registered as a private limited company. It benefits the McCann family and is controlled by them. It was supposed to raise money to search for Madeleine, but instead, much of the money you donated has been used to pay lawyers and public relations staff. It’s also funded ‘private investigators’, which you’ll find a lot more about in this leaflet. Curiously, from 1999, Smethurst holidayed every year with members of his three families (he has six children by three women) in Praia da Luz, the very place where Madeleine was reported missing.
This leaflet will focus on Brian Kennedy, the organisations and men he’s used on behalf of the McCanns for the past six years, using donations from generous members of the public, to search for Madeleine.
52. Brian Kennedy has made a fortune, worth hundreds of millions, from his business activities. He owns the Latium group of companies, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. He lives in a multi-million pound mansion at Swettenham Hall, near Crewe, Cheshire. He is a Jehovah’s Witness. His in-house lawyer for the past decade has been Edward Smethurst, the Masonic lawyer we mentioned above.
53. According to Kate McCann’s book, ‘madeleine’, Kennedy got Smethurst to ring the McCanns on 12 September 2007 to offer help, just five days after the McCanns had been made suspects, and two days after they had returned to England. Kennedy then bought a house in Knutsford, Cheshire, and has used that ever since as the base for the McCann Team’s private investigations. There is evidence, however, that Brian Kennedy may have been working behind the scenes for the McCanns well before September 2007.
54. According to Kate McCann, Kennedy first met the McCanns on 14 September 2007. Within days, Kennedy had appointed a controversial Spanish detective agency, Metodo 3. He also appointed a Nottingham man, Gary Hagland, whose job included liaising with Metodo 3 staff. Metodo 3 and Hagland had expertise and experience in money-laundering and fraud - but not in looking for missing children.
55. Kennedy paid Melissa Little to mock up two artists’ impressions of possible suspects. She said she was ‘FBI-trained’, which could mean anything. She describes herself as a ‘forensic artist’. She first sketched the man who Jane Tanner, one of the McCanns’ friends, claimed to have seen carrying a young child near the McCanns’ apartment on the evening Madeleine was reported missing. There are many reasons to question her story. She changed, several times, her description of the man she said she’d seen. She said that, at the time, she walked past Gerry McCann and another Ocean Club guest along a narrow lane. But both agreed that they had not seen her, nor had either of them seen the alleged abductor. The sketch she produced, however, wasn’t released until late October 2007, nearly six months after Madeleine was reported missing. Tanner admitted didn’t see the face of the man she said she’d seen. Even if Tanner really had seen someone, it was far too late to be any use. The sketch did however make the front pages of most British newspapers.
56. Shortly afterwards, Brian Kennedy paid for Little to draw another sketch - this time of a man said to have been acting suspiciously in the days before Madeleine was reported missing. He was said to have been collecting for charity. One of two people who claimed to have seen this man, however, Ms Gail Cooper, also changed her story, rendering it doubtful. The other person, Paul Gordon, later said he had been ‘pressurised’ by Brian Kennedy to say things about the sighting of this this man that he didn’t want to say.
57. On 28 August 2009, the Evening Standard published a hard-hitting article by Mark Hollingsworth on the McCanns’ private investigation. It has since removed the article from its website for what it says are ‘editorial and/or legal reasons’, but it can still be read here - Link: http://www.mccannfiles.com/id285.html Hollingsworth said his article was based on information ‘from several sources’. The article made a number of serious allegations against Kennedy, who has never denied them, nor sued for libel, including these:
· That Kennedy’s investigators questioned potential witnesses about Madeleine’s disappearance ‘far too aggressively’. Some refused to talk to police [NOTE: Under English law, such conduct could amount to intimidating witnesses and perverting the course of justice, offences carrying 14-year maximum jail terms].
· That the involvement of Kennedy and his son Patrick had been ‘counter-productive’
· That the relationship between the Portuguese police and Metodo 3 had ‘completely broken down’
· That his investigators ‘had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work’.
58. Kennedy sent two Metodo 3 investigators to Morocco. There were reports that Moroccans were offered money if they would claim to have seen a child looking like Madeleine. During the Leveson enquiry, Daily Express journalist David Pilditch admitted the Express had indeed paid one such person 500 euros.
59. On 13 November 2007, Kennedy met Portuguese police in Portimao in the company of the boss of Metodo 3, Francisco Marco, and their chief investigator on the Madeleine McCann case, Antonio Giminez Raso (more about both below). The three of them claimed to have ‘important new leads’. However, none of them were of any value whatsoever to the police, who later cut all ties with Metodo 3.
60. On the same date, 13 November 2007, Kennedy, accompanied by his lawyer Edward Smethurst, secretly met the chief suspect in the case, Robert Murat, and his lawyer, Francisco Pagarete. Three members of Murat’s family were also at the meeting: his mother ,and uncle and aunt Ralph and Sally Eveleigh. When news of this meeting leaked out two weeks later, Kennedy was asked what he was doing interfering in a criminal investigation by talking to the chief suspect in the case. He claimed that he had met Murat ‘in order to offer Murat a job helping to find Madeleine’, an unconvincing explanation of his mysterious meeting.
61. Brian Kennedy, on behalf of the McCann Team, appointed Metodo 3, a controversial Spanish detective agency, based in Barcelona, allegedly to look for Madeleine. They had no experience whatsoever in looking for missing people, let alone missing children. In 1995, their boss, Marita Férnandez Lago, was arrested and taken away in handcuffs, along with other members of her staff, on suspicion of illegal hacking of telephones, corruption, and other offences. In the end, the charges were dropped, but suspicions of illegal conduct remained. The main expertise of Metodo 3 was in filed such as money laundering and fraud.
62. In December 2007, Metodo 3 boss Francisco Marco made a series of false claims about Madeleine. In stories reported on the front pages of Britain’s tabloids, he claimed that:
· Madeleine was alive and his men knew where Madeleine was
· His men knew who had abducted Madeleine and were ‘closing in on the kidnappers’, and that
· Madeleine would be ‘home by Christmas’. These were deliberate lies.
63. Despite these deliberate lies, which misled the general public with false hopes that Madeleine was alive and would be found, the McCann Team kept employing Metodo 3 for another 18 months. Indeed, the McCanns’ official spokesman Clarence Mitchell, said at the time that: “We remain absolutely confident in Metodo 3 and their operational capacity to find Madeleine”.
64. Metodo 3 boasted that they had ‘40 detectives’ working on the Madeleine McCann private investigation. When Times journalist Christine Toomey visited their plush new offices in Barcelona in January 2008, however, she found that:
· there was no sign of activity, no sound of ’phones ringing, nor any other signs that an active investigation was going on
· they boasted that they had ‘found 23 missing children’ but could provide no proof or evidence
· they terminated the interview with her as soon as she started asking difficult questions.
65. In 2009 Metodo 3 were criticised by the Spanish government over excessive claims made by them for work they carried out under a government contract concerning an agricultural project.
66. In early 2013, Francisco Marco, the boss of Metodo 3, and several of his staff, were arrested and remanded in custody on charges of systematic illegal ’phone tapping of political and business figures. Some have since admitted their crimes. Metodo 3 was forced to pay £30,000 damages to one of the senior political figures whose conversations they had illegally tapped at a Barcelona restaurant. At the time of writing this leaflet, several Metodo 3 staff are facing trial, and the agency has been forced to close.
67. Antonio Giminez Raso was Metodo 3’s lead investigator on the Madeleine McCann case, working closely with boss Francisco Marco. He was a Police Inspector in the Anti-Drug and Children Trafficking Department of Catalonia. He was either dismissed or resigned from the Police in late 2004 or early 2005 and soon afterwards joined Metodo 3. He has never explained why he left the police.
68. On 18 February 2008, Antonio Giminez Raso (and his brother) were arrested and remanded in custody - with 25 others said to belong to a vicious 27-strong gang of drug-dealers. Several of those accused were corrupt police officers. He was alleged to have supplied the drug-dealers inside information, enabling them to steal 200kg of cocaine worth around £25 million from a boat in Barcelona harbour. He spent the next 4 years in jail, awaiting trial. In the end he was acquitted because of insufficient evidence against him, but the judge held that in his role as a police officer, he had been ‘far too close’ to members of the gang.
69. When news of Antonio Giminez Raso’s arrest on serious charges became public, the media stated that he had been a McCann Team investigator. The McCanns’ chief public relations spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, immediately went to the media, claiming: “He has nothing to do with us”. That was a lie.
70. On 10 December 2007, Antonio Giminez Raso from Metodo 3 met, at the Arade Dam, Portugal, with Madeira-based lawyer, Marcos Aragao Correia (see below). Each had travelled about 500 miles to be present at this meeting. Both were employed by the McCann Team and worked closely with Kennedy. Here, they plotted how to develop lurid front-page headlines in the British and Portuguese press a few weeks later.
71. At the end of January 2008, one story about Madeleine McCann dominated the British press. This news was what was then claimed to be a genuine search for Madeleine’s bones in the Arade Dam. The British people were told that Marcos Aragao Correia, who said he was just a ‘Good Samaritan’ funding the search of the lake from his own pocket, had been told by the Portuguese criminal underworld that Madeleine, within three days of her reported disappearance, had been raped, killed, and her body thrown into the Arade Dam. He said he was ‘certain’ her body had been thrown into the Arade Dam, later claiming that he was ‘99% certain’ her bones would be found there. This was no genuine search. The whole stunt had been closely planned with Antonio Giminez Raso and Metodo 3. There’s more about this story at this link:
72. Later, Marcos Aragao Correia admitted that he had been paid by Metodo 3, who were working for the McCanns on the Arade Dam project, and had asked him to perform this publicity stunt. The McCanns pretended to be stunned by this search for Madeleine’s bones. The truth is that they knew all along that this stunt would be staged - just to provide more sensational headlines for the British press.
73. Marcos Aragao Correia recovered some bones and a child’s sock from the lake. He claimed they could be ‘animal or human bones’ and handed them to Antonio Giminez Raso. They were in fact animal bones. The British public had been deceived into thinking that this was a bona fide search.
74. Julian Peribanez was another key Metodo 3 private investigator. He worked closely with Nottingham man Gary Hagland (see below), and alongside Antonio Giminez Raso. He was briefly filmed whilst on a visit to Portugal, link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-74ragUCC8Y
As the cameraman moved towards him, he was quick to hide his face with a map. Together with Hagland, he also interviewed two sisters from England, Jayne Jensen and Annie Wiltshire, resulting in yet another sensational story about ‘two blonde men’ seen - allegedly - acting suspiciously in the hours before Madeleine was reported missing. Their story was dubious and has never been substantiated.
75. In February 2013 Peribanez was arrested, along with several other Metodo 3 investigators, on suspicion of illegal telephone tapping. He has admitted his guilt and is awaiting sentence.
76. Days after the McCanns had returned to England from Portugal in September 2007, Kennedy appointed Nottingham man Gary Hagland as his right-hand man in England. Hagland’s credentials for searching for a missing child were non-existent. Just like the staff from Metodo 3, Hagland had experience - and a qualification - in money laundering; indeed he wrote articles on the subject for a professional magazine. An article in the Financial Times on 30 March 2001 described him as: “A consultant with law firm Wragge & Co, advising clients on the active management of compliance risks, including money laundering”. An article in Money Laundering Bulletin referred to his former career as an Intelligence Officer in the Royal Hong Kong Police. He also had connections with the British security services.
77. During the seven months he worked for Kennedy, Gary Hagland was based in Kennedy’s Knutsford investigation headquarters, but he also visited Praia da Luz (where Madeleine disappeared) and went to Metodo 3’s offices in Barcelona. He was instrumental in arranging, with the help of the King of Morocco, for Metodo 3 investigators to be allowed to search for Madeleine in Morocco in the autumn of 2007. He stopped working for Kennedy in March 2008, convinced that the search for Madeleine was ‘heading in the wrong direction’. He later confided to a Madeleine McCann researcher that he was ‘carrying a heavy burden’ about his involvement in the Madeleine McCann investigation. There is more about Hagland here:
78. It is clear that Marcos Aragao Corriea, a young lawyer from the Portuguese island of Madeira, had become a member of the McCann Team at least by November 2007, if not before. He performed two main functions for the McCann Team. As we saw above, he created a publicity storm in late January 2008 with a bogus search for Madeleine’s bones in the Arade Dam. Perhaps even more important to the McCann Team, he was employed by them to target the McCanns’ main opponent, Dr Goncalo Amaral, the man who made the McCanns suspects in their daughter’s disappearance in September 2007.
79. On 8 April 2008 (shortly after the Arade Dam stunt), Marcos Aragao Corriea visited Odemira Women’s Prison, met with the Prison Governor there, and began interviewing one of its most notorious inmates: Leonor Cipriano. He struck a deal with her, promising her early release from prison if she would make false allegations against Dr Amaral. In 2004, Cipriano and her brother Joao Cipriano had brutally murdered her 8-year-old daughter, Joana, after she caught them in an act of incest. Both voluntarily admitted their crime. Joao Cipriano later gave graphic details of how they murdered Joana and disposed of her body. The two had set the whole of Portugal on a wild goose chase by pretending that Joana had been abducted. The investigating co-ordinator who exposed this as a deliberate lie was Dr Amaral, the man who first investigated the Madeleine McCann case. Amaral secured the conviction of both Joana’s mother and uncle in 2005. They are now serving long jail terms; more details here: http://www.mccannfiles.com/id176.html
80. Marcos Aragoa Correia had, in fact, been instructed by the McCanns, via Metodo 3, to damage Dr Amaral by representing Leonor Cipriano in a criminal complaint against Dr Amaral; Link:
Leonor Cipriano claimed that injuries she suffered - almost certainly from other inmates on her admission to prison - were caused by brutality and torture inflicted by Dr Amaral and four other police officers in a police station, when she was arrested. Marcos Aragao Corriea represented her in criminal proceedings that were adjourned five times and lasted over 18 months. The court’s final verdict was that there was no proof of any torture or beatings. Leonor Cipriano completely failed to prove her case, and was exposed as a serial liar who changed her story many times. However, in a strange ruling, Dr Amaral and another officer were convicted of ‘filing a false report’. When the verdict was announced, Marcos Aragao Correia was unconcerned about failing to prove the alleged brutality of police officers. Instead, he exulted: ‘The target was hit’ – by which he meant that he had succeeded in securing a conviction against Dr Amaral. However, his client Leonor Cipriano was handed an extra seven years in jail on top of her original 16-year prison term.
81. Marcos Aragao Correia had earlier told journalists that he had become interested in the Madeleine McCann case because underworld sources had told him that Madeleine had been killed. Later, he was challenged about this, and asked why he hadn’t given this information to the Portuguese police much earlier. He then candidly admitted that he’d blatantly lied. He then produced a totally different account of how he had become interested in the case. This time, he maintained that he had gone to his ‘first-ever’ Spiritualist church meeting on the Saturday after Madeleine was reported missing. On returning home, he claims that he had a ‘vision’ of a huge man strangling a young blond-haired child. Later still, he admitted that that was also a lie. The question must be asked: For what reason did the McCann Team hire and pay for a man who came up with terrible stories of what might have happened to Madeleine, neither of which turned out to be true?
82. Shortly after being summoned by the McCanns to give evidence at the McCanns’ libel action against Goncalo Amaral last year (which was later postponed), Marcos Aragao Correia fled to Brazil, saying he would never return to Portugal. Within a few weeks of his move to Brazil, the media reported another sighting of Madeleine McCann in Brazil. Once again this turned out to be false.
83. Brian Kennedy paid Melissa Little to sketch the man Jane Tanner said she had seen, and, later, another moustachioed man said to have been acting suspiciously (see Facts 55 & 56 above). Despite the obvious differences in the two sketches, and despite the fact that Jane Tanner said did not see any part of the man’s face, she (Tanner) said that the two sketches looked like they might be of the same person.
84. The Portuguese police dismissed the sketch of the man allegedly seen by McCann friend Jane Tanner as having ‘no credibility’ and accused the McCanns of ‘diverting attention away from themselves’. Carlos Anjos, president of the Police Inspectors Union, said: “All sense has been completely lost”. Another police source said the picture was based on information ‘without any consistency’, showing a man who could be ‘one of hundreds of people’. Besides that, the woman whose description of the man was relied upon changed her story twice, leading the police to doubt whether there was any value in her evidence.
85. One of the most baffling decisions of all was the McCann Team’s decision to hire Kevin Halligen, part of a two-man team who set up an intelligence agency called Oakley International. The other was Henri Exton (see below). When news leaked out about Halligen’s involvement, the McCann Team concealed his identity and described Oakley International as ‘the big boys of international detective work’. It was a calculated lie. Oakley had been formed after Madeleine McCann was reported missing - and consisted just of these two men. Neither man had any experience of looking for missing children.
86. The true nature of Halligen was revealed in a long, well-researched article in the Evening Standard by Mark Hollingsworth, on 28 August 2009 (see above, Fact No. 57). The full article can be read on the McCannFiles website, here: http://www.mccannfiles.com/id285.html Hollingsworth said of Halligen:
· He claimed to have worked at GCHQ, but this claim was false. He also claimed that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA; none of those claims could be substantiated
· He was described by several observers as ‘a Walter Mitty’ figure
· He called himself ‘Patrick’ or ‘Richard’ as well as Kevin, his real first name. The McCanns say they ‘only knew him as Richard Halligen’.
· He made a small fortune representing controversial Dutch firm Trafigura, some of whose executives were jailed in Ivory Coast after the company dumped toxic waste there. After failing to get the executives released, Halligen was sacked by Trafigura, who later had to pay £1.3 million to the Ivory Coast government to get them freed ( Link: http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/news/2013/jun/13-230.html ). Halligen had been a costly waste of money. These and many other disturbing facts about him (see below), raised the question of whether the McCanns did proper ‘due diligence’ on Halligen and Exton. They were spending money kindly donated by you, the public, and one would expect them to take care in who they chose to work for them.
87. Halligen and Exton were reported to have charged the McCann Team a fee of £100,000 a month plus expenses. In the first month of the contract, he claimed over £50,000 in expenses, on top of his fee. He was paid large sums of money upfront, despite him producing nothing of value. Hollingsworth wrote that: “During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office...the bar was in effect his office”. A former colleague said: “He was there virtually the whole day”. During the time the McCanns employed Halligen, they were advertising ‘an investigation hotline’ for members of the public to ring with any information. Halligen arranged for a company, iJet, based in West Virginia, U.S., to handle the calls. However, the Director of iJet later complained that neither the McCann Team nor Kevin Halligen had followed up any calls to the hotline, as highlighted in this Daily Mail article. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1231757/Madeleine-McCann-investigator-didnt-listen-ANY-tip-offs-given-hotline--squandered-500-000.html The Mail article rightly condemned Halligen for having ‘squandered £500,000’. Yet the McCanns have never sued Halligen.
88. Andrew Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, paid £55,000 to Halligen for a 10% shareholding in Oakley International. But Halligen transferred the money into his private bank account, using it to pay for him and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to have a lavish holiday in Italy. Hollingsworth wrote that: “In a £4 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleged that Halligen ‘received monies for Oakley’s services rendered and deposited this into his personal accounts’ and ‘systematically depleted funds from Oakley’s bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses’.” Another victim was Mark Aspinall, a lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, who invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Aspinall filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen, claiming £1 million in damages.
89. When Hollingsworth wrote his article, Halligen was on the run from the police. He wrote: “He has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and many former business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels”. Thanks to an observant hotel guest, he was spotted at a £700-a-night Oxfordshire hotel in October 2009, who reported him to the police. The police promptly arrested him, taking him off to Belmarsh top security prison. He then spent three years there fighting extradition to the U.S., costing the Briitsh taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds in Legal Aid. Eventually he was successfully extradited to the U.S., where he admitted his guilt and spent further time in prison. Why did the McCanns employ this rogue?
90. Henri Exton, former business partner of Kevin Halligen, is a former Greater Manchester Police undercover officer. From 1991, he worked for MI5. In 2002, he was arrested for shoplifting. Whilst working on an MI5 surveillance operation, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with an expensive item he hadn’t paid for. The police were called. He was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution, or face prosecution. He chose a police caution, thereby admitting his guilt. He was sacked by MI5. Furious at the decision to dismiss him, Exton then threatened to sue MI5.
91. Kennedy, in November 2008, appointed Dave Edgar, former Detective Inspector who lives near him in Cheshire, to head up the McCann Team’s private investigation. He had served in Northern Ireland. He first came to public attention when he was filmed in Kennedy’s Knutsford office for a Channel 4 documentary, shown in May 2009. On film, he was asked about obvious contradictions in the evidence given by Gerry McCann, his friend Jane Tanner, and another witness. Instead of suggesting, as any experienced police officer should do, that witnesses who give contradictory evidence should be further probed as to the accuracy of their stories, he airily dismissed these contradictions by saying: “Where you get a number of witnesses at an event, you always get inconsistencies”.
92. In August 2009, Edgar came to prominence again when he appeared with Clarence Mitchell at a press conference. At this conference, the McCann Team claimed they had ‘credible evidence’ from a British banker who had been drinking in the pubs of Barcelona docklands for several hours, three nights after Madeleine had been reported missing. He apparently claimed that a young woman, who looked like Victoria Beckham, with an Australian accent, had approached him at 2.00am on the quayside and asked: “Have you got my new daughter?” He was said to have waited two years to tell the police about this alleged incident. Edgar seriously tried to maintain that his was ‘a strong lead’. The banker insisted on remaining anonymous.
93. At this very same press conference, Edgar made the astounding claim that Jane Tanner, on the night Madeleine had been reported missing, might have seen a woman carrying a child near the McCanns’ apartment, not a man. This, of course, completely blew apart Tanner’s detailed description of a man she said she’d seen carrying a child. Not one of the British media drew the public’s attention to Edgar’s astonishing claim, which totally undermined Tanner’s evidence.
94. Following this conference, the Mail on Sunday went to Barcelona and researched the story. They discovered that the McCann Team, under Edgar, had done no work at all there to support their apparent belief in the credibility of their tale. They listed the failures of the McCann Team’s detectives. They…
· failed to speak to anyone working at the seafood restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen
· failed to ask the port authority about movement of boats around the time Madeleine disappeared
· failed to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV
· knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished - until told by British journalists, who gave them the captain’s mobile phone number
· failed to interview anyone at a nearby dockside bar where, according to Mr Edgar, the mystery woman was later seen drinking, and
· failed to ask British diplomats in Spain for advice before or during the visit.
Edgar had to apologise, but blamed others: He said: “We are not above criticism and I take responsibility for any shortcomings. If somebody has not done what they should have done, that’s my job to deal with that”. Many suspected that the press conference was just for show, and was not a ‘strong lead’ after all. In his article about Kevin Halligen in the Evening Standard, Mark Hollingsworth had written: “Within days [of the press conference], reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough, while Tom Worden, in the Mail on Sunday, added: “The detectives failed to make even rudimentary inquiries before announcing a ‘significant’ development in the worldwide search for the six-year-old”.
95. Days later, on 26 August, news emerged that Jaycee Lee Dugard, who was been abducted at the age of eleven and been missing for 18 years, had been found alive. She had been kept prisoner by convicted sex offender Phillip Craig Garrido. Huge publicity about the case followed. It had echoes of the revelations about the underground lair where Josef Fritzl had kept his daughter, and Natasha Kampusch, the Austrian woman who escaped from captivity after eight years being held by her abductor. The McCanns claimed that something like this could have happened to Madeleine. Edgar then made statements to the media that he was now ‘convinced’ Madeleine was being held in a similar ‘prison lair’ near Praia da Luz. Yet the McCann Teams did nothing whatsoever to follow up Edgar’s suggestion. They organised no search of the area.
96. Arthur Cowley was appointed by Brian Kennedy to assist Dave Edgar. He and Edgar had been described by Clarence Mitchell as ‘a firm of crack detectives’. Over a long career, Cowley had only managed to reach the rank of Detective Sergeant. He had retired from the police years before, to his cottage on Halkyn Mountain, 1,000 feet up in the Welsh hills, where he kept a few horses and pigeons. Yet Kennedy chose him, with Edgar, to spearhead the McCann Team’s private investigation. It is unclear what relevant experience he could offer. Mysteriously, he set up what was claimed to be an investigations company called ‘ALPHAIG’ in 2009, after he was chosen to work for the McCann Team (see next section).
97. Why did Arthur Cowley set up ALPHAIG in 2009? The answer leads us back to Brian Kennedy. Companies House records tell us that ALPHAIG was incorporated on 10 June 2009, that is, months after both Cowley and Edgar were recruited by Kennedy to the McCann private investigation team. The registered office is given as Cowley’s home address: ‘Treetops’, Pant-y-Gof, HALKYN, Flintshire, CH8 8DH. Cowley was a founding Director, so was a ‘shelf company’, Turner Little Company Nominees Ltd, of North Yorkshire. This company resigned the same day, meaning that Cowley was the sole Director of the ALPHAIG. There is no mention of Dave Edgar being involved with this company in any shape or form. The trail leads back to Kennedy because it was his friend and business partner, Andrew Dickman, who registered the following internet domain name on 12 January 2009: alphaig.co.uk . Why did Dickman do this? And why did Cowley form an investigations company, months after Kennedy had employed him?
98. These steps were taken because the McCann Team wanted to give the press and public the false impression that Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley were part of a well-established private detective agency, the Alpha Investigations Group. They successfully fooled the press and public into believing this suggestion. This deliberate deception began on 14 May 2009, when the Daily Mirror ran a story about Edgar and Cowley in which they wrote the following: “Mr Edgar now runs the Alpha Investigations Group with business partner Arthur Cowley”. At this stage, Cowley had not even (with Kennedy’s help) registered his company. There was no ‘Alpha Investigations Group’ that Edgar was ‘now running’. Many other newspapers ran with the false claim that ‘Edgar and Cowley now head up the Alpha Investigations Group.
99. The accounts of Cowley’s ALPHAIG company revealed the following information:
· The company had no employees
· It had fixed assets of just £630, a bank balance of £853, an a profit for the year of £8
· Creditors owed £170; liabilities were £1,644
ALPHAIG therefore had very little, if any, equipment - and next to no cash. A firm of private investigators would need, for example, sophisticated equipment, cameras, listening devices, computers and cars. In addition, ALPHAIG had no website. It had no obvious means of being contacted. There is no reference anywhere else to the existence of this company except with reference to the McCann private investigation. There was nothing at Arthur Cowley’s Welsh mountain cottage to suggest that this was the headquarters of a prosperous, successful detective agency. Quite the reverse, in fact.
100. The McCanns set up their private limited company, the ‘Find Madeleine Fund’, within days of Madeleine going missing. No-one knows exactly how much money they’ve raised from the public and from other sources, but we can safely say: many millions of pounds. First of all they said that the money was mostly to pay for lawyers. Then they changed that and said it was money to help find Madeleine. This short leaflet has explained how they have spent much of your money.
We have shown you, in a short summary, how your money has been spent on a series of dubious, dodgy firms of so-called ‘investigators’.
Four members of the McCanns investigation team have spent spells in prison since working on the McCann investigation team. Two of them were each in prison for over four years.
Exactly what have they achieved?
Have the McCann Team given us, the general public, any reliable information at all about where Madeleine McCann might have been taken, and who might have taken her?
We will leave you to answer that question.
Published by ‘The Madeleine McCann Research Group’ - 31 August 2013 Further reading:
Watch the Portuguese detective’s documentary: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxGhlYTNisw