Madeleine McCann, 3, went missing from a holiday resort in
Portugal as her parents ate tapas 150 yards away
A BUSINESSMAN who pretended to be a secret agent has allegedly pocketed
up to '300,000 from funds intended to pay investigators working on the
disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Kevin Halligen, a British security consultant, was paid to find
Madeleine but allegedly failed to pass the money on to the private
detectives who did the work on his behalf. A friend of Kate and Gerry
McCann, Madeleine's parents, said they had become increasingly concerned
'He had this sense of cloak and dagger, acting as if he were a James
Bond-style spy,' said the friend. 'He promised the earth but it came to
Halligen's company Oakley International, which is based in Washington
DC, was paid '500,000 after being hired by the Find Madeleine fund.
Sources close to Halligen say he offered to provide the McCanns with
satellite images and lists of telephone traffic on the night Madeleine
disappeared. The data were supposed to come from contacts in Washington
but, one source claimed, 'all he came up with was a Google Earth image'.
The Madeleine fund was provided with further reports from teams of
investigators who found it increasingly difficult to obtain their fees
from Halligen. One of them, Henri Exton, a former national head of
undercover operations for the British police, is owed more than '100,000
by Halligen for work he did on the Madeleine case.
Documents show that while Halligen's company was receiving the fund's
cash, he was withdrawing large amounts of money for his personal use. He
had been using company funds to finance first-class flights, expensive
hotels and chauffeur-driven cars.
His contract with the fund was not renewed in October last year.
Halligen left Washington for a holiday in Rome but never returned to
Oakley's offices. He was last seen staying at the Royal Crescent hotel
in Bath under an assumed name.
Halligen, 50, often pretended to have served in the intelligence
services to impress business and social contacts, according to those who
knew him well.
Two years ago he allegedly faked his own wedding to a lawyer in
Washington, watched by former agents, a CIA station chief and an adviser
to Barack Obama. Halligen told his bride that his spy masters would not
allow his real name to be on wedding documents. He was, in fact, already
married and the priest was an actor.
A wider financial investigation has found Halligen bought a '1m mansion
with money allegedly defrauded from Trafigura, the company accused of
dumping toxic waste in Africa. Last week the US Department of Justice
issued an indictment seeking his arrest over the alleged Trafigura
Stephen Dorrell, the McCanns' MP, said: 'This man clearly saw a
vulnerable family going through a terrible ordeal and the only thing he
was focused on was that there were people offering money to help find