A blog about the McCanns, the media, money and the Met.
Collection box at entrance to
Ocean Club Tapas Bar in Praia da Luz, July 2007, with hand-written note from Kate
What happened to the News of the World's 'Find Madeleine
On May 13 2007, ten days after Madeleine McCann disappeared
from an apartment in Praia da Luz, the News of the World announced the "biggest ever newspaper reward" for information
leading to Madeleine's safe return.
At the same time, the paper promised that if the reward remained unpaid
for any reason, the portion made up of readers' donations [The other portion being made up of 'pledges'] would
be shared equally by children's charities Barnado's, Childline and the NSPCC.
In April 2011, the donated
portion of the reward money was indeed paid out by News International - but not to the children's charities, as they had
promised. Instead, and with no announcement from either the News of the World or the McCanns, it was paid into Madeleine's
What happened to the News of the World's
'Find Madeleine Reward Fund', 25 May 2014
|What happened to the News of the World's 'Find
Madeleine Reward Fund'
A Sauce said...
Sunday, 25 May 2014 at 15:07
What happened to the News of the World
readers' cash?, 30 May 2014
|What happened to the News of the World readers'
A Sauce said...
May 2014 at 16:05
On May 13
2007, ten days after Madeleine McCann disappeared from an apartment in Praia
da Luz, the News of the World announced the "biggest ever newspaper reward"
for information leading to Madeleine's safe return.
At 11.10pm UK, Sunday May 13, 2007, the newspaper
posted this on its website:
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has made a significant donation to
a £1.5m reward for the safe return of Madeleine McCann.
The writer has made the largest, but undisclosed
contribution to the News of the World fund, which means £2.6m is now on offer.
British businessman Stephen
Winyard offered a £1m reward earlier this week, and a colleague of Madeleine's mum Kate a further £100,000.
Manchester (sic) and England star Wayne Rooney and sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin have also given £25,000 to the
newspaper campaign while music mogul Simon Cowell donated a further £50,000.
The reward is for information
directly resulting in the safe return of the four-year-old who was abducted in Portugal nine days ago.
and leading business figures , including BHS boss Sir Philip Green, Bill Kenwright and Sir Richard Branson, have also joined
together in the unprecedented show of support for the family.
Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann said: "Anything
that can be done to publicise that Madeleine is missing and help with the search is very welcome."
police have also endorsed the reward offer.
The co-operation of the backers means this is the biggest reward ever
offered in a newspaper.
Pledges are still pouring into the reward fund - which will be paid out for the crucial
piece of information that leads police to Madeleine.
Sir Philip Green, who matched the News of the World's
£250,000 contribution, said: "My wife Tina and I have children, and anything we can do to help bring this beautiful
little girl back we will of course do without hesitation.
"We are praying for Madeleine's safe return
and can't imagine what Kate and Gerry are going through at the moment."
Madeleine was snatched from her
parents' Portuguese holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on Thursday May 3.
The offer is
subject to standard News of the World reward offer conditions.
Anyone with information should contact:
Portuguese Police: 00 351 282 405 40
Portuguese (sic) Crimestoppers: 00 44
1883 731 336
While the offers of support from those business people and celebrities
were undoubtedly heartfelt and generous, they didn't actually cost them anything. No money changed hands between them
and the newspaper.
They didn't actually give, donate or contribute to the News of the World Reward Fund. What
they did was pledge. They promised to pay out for "that crucial piece of information that leads police to Madeleine",
subject to standard News of the World reward offer conditions. (What those conditions were was never made public.)
In July 2011, Madeleine had still not been found but, as a result of the public uproar surrounding the phone hacking scandal,
News International closed the News of the World for good.
With it, we must assume, went those promises to pay.
But there had been money in the reward fund. Real money, not just promises and pledges. It didn't come from anyone
famous, just ordinary readers who'd been touched by the story of a missing child.
They had perhaps noticed
this article on page 5 of the News of the World on 13 May 2007:
So what happened to that money?
Thank you and goodbye, 03 June 2014
On July 10 2011, in the wake of reports that its journalists
had hacked messages from the phone of a dead child, the News of the World published its 8,674th and last edition.
It called itself "The world's greatest newspaper". Others called it "The paper that died of shame".
Beneath the hyperbole lay a simple economic truth. The first line of copy in Edition No. 1 of the News of the World,
dated Sunday October 1 1843, read:
"THE CHEAPEST AND BEST MODE OF ADVERTISING"
International's problem now, though, was that advertisers wouldn't touch it with a surgical glove. And so James Murdoch
pulled the plug. The paper was history.
But what had happened to the News of the World Find Madeleine Reward Fund?
The paper had splashed its £1.5m headline reward figure
alongside a picture of Madeleine and three phone numbers to call with information.
(One of these was its own news
desk, which you could call "in strict confidence". Whether this meant that the newspaper would fail to share your
information with the police is unclear.)
The paper had also invited readers to add their money - cash donations
- to the headline pledges from the paper and its contingent of celebrities. It had set up a bank account , No. 52135590, Sort
Code 40-36-15, at HSBC in Cathedral Square, Peterborough, just down the road from News International's accounts department.
Over the months that followed, for some reason, it never told its readers how much it had collected.
In its final edition, although Madeleine's name and picture had often appeared on its front page, her story wasn't
one of those it splashed across its 48-page Souvenir Pullout. But beneath a copy of a front page from December 15 2010 (WORLD
EXCLUSIVE | CAUGHT BY THE BAILS. HURLEY CHEATS.. WITH SHANE) it had marked the key events of 2007:
Madeleine McCann is reported missing in Portugal by her parents Kate and Gerry. Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as leader
of the Labour Party and Prime Minister.
That was it. The last chance to tell the readers was gone. Who would
Early in December 2013, Gerry McCann was contacted by email at the University of Hospital
of Leicester, where he is a Consultant Cardiologist.
He was asked what had happened to the Reward Fund. His reply,
within the hour, was courteous and clear:
'That is something you will need to take up with News International.
'My understanding is that the reward was made up of pledges.
News International, of course, no longer existed. On June 26th
2013, it had re-branded itself as News UK. But fourteen months earlier, in September 2011, it was still News International.
Ten weeks after the company had shut down the News of the World, a Press Officer was asked by email:
Is (the Reward Fund) still active?
2. How much was raised and what has happened to the funds since?
Given the demise of the newspaper, who is now responsible for the administration of this account?
4. What are the
current plans for the Fund?
The reply, six days later, was also courteous and clear:
'Thank you for your enquiry.
'I can confirm
that the funds raised by the appeal were donated in April this year (2011) to the official Madeleine Fund and the fund created
by News of the World is no longer active.'
Charity begins at home, 03 June 2014
How you can add to the reward,
p5 News of the World 13 May 2007.
When News International revealed in a September 2011 email that the News
of the World had paid out cash, donated by its readers as a Reward for information leading to the safe return of Madeleine
McCann, to the limited company Fund set up by her parents in 2007, it raised a number of questions.
Not least among
them was what had happened to the charities who had been promised the money in the event of the reward not being paid out.
(The whereabouts of the child are still, sadly, not known.)
In October 2011, each charity was asked three
Had they been consulted before being named as potential recipients in the event of an unpaid reward?
Had they ever been informed how much money the NOTW had raised?
Were they ever told they would no longer
be receiving any money from the unclaimed reward fund?
A spokesperson for NSPCC replied:
identify any direct work we did with NotW on this. It's possible they just did it without letting us know.'
A spokesperson for Barnardo's wrote:
'We can confirm that we have no record of correspondence
with the News of the World regarding the Madeleine McCann fund. For any further
queries relating to this matter, please contact News International.'
But how willing would News International be to share more information?
Putting the 'press' in suppress,
04 June 2014
|Putting the 'press' in suppress
A Sauce said...
Wednesday, 4 June 2014 at 14:20
On March 4th 2012, Hacked Off, in its campaign for a free and
accountable press, reviewed on its blog the events of the previous week at the Leveson Inquiry.
The Inquiry had
begun Module 2, examining the relationship between the police and the press.
One witness was the Guardian's
Nick Davies, whose revelations over the hacking of Millie Dowler's phone had led to the demise of the News of the World.
In his evidence he had said:
"...material provided from press officers can be inaccurate and "out
of step" with the needs of the public, as they are employed to protect the interests of the organisation."
Kate and Gerry McCann are, alongside Chris Jefferies and the Dowler family, very much poster-children for Hacked Off. They
are regular headline signators of the group's campaigning activities.
So it would be interesting to know what
they make of the activities of News International's press office in protecting the interests of the organisation with
which they had previously had such a damaging relationship, according to their evidence at the Leveson Inquiry.
28 September 2011, a News International press officer had revealed that, in April 2011, the News of the World had paid out
cash collected by readers as a reward for information leading to the safe return of Madeleine McCann, despite the fact the
child was still missing. It had transferred the money to the limited company set up by Kate and Gerry McCann, but hadn't
told its readers.
It had also failed to tell the charities to which it had said it would donate the money if the
reward hadn't been claimed.
The News International press officer had written:
'I can confirm that the funds raised by the appeal were
donated in April this year (2011) to the official Madeleine Fund and the fund created by News of the World is no longer active.'
There was one obvious question which needed to be put News International.
How much had been raised by its readers?, it was asked on 29 September 2011.
A couple of days later, the press
'I am checking with colleagues if we can release that information.'
Several weeks passed without reply. The press office was during this
period busy with the fallout from the hacking scandal. But perhaps parent company News Corporation could help.
Gevenchak, Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer of News Corporation, based in New York, was approached on 26 October 2011.
The first of nine questions put to Ms Gevenchak was:
How much did News of the World readers contribute
to the paper's 'Madeleine Fund' reward appeal?Ms Gevenchak's ethics apparently precluded her
from replying directly, but it did prompt a reply on 1 November 2011 from the News International press officer in London:
'I'm afraid that we didn't disclose the amount raised
by the fund in the paper and nor am I able to explain why those funds were paid out to the charity in April 2011 given that
those staff involved in the decision have now left the business following the closure of the News of the World.
sorry that we are not able to help with more detail.'
And that, it seemed, was the end of that.
Except the Leveson
Inquiry proved, if not a practical tool for developing a sensible mechanism for curbing the wilder excesses of the press,
at least a fountain of information.
After Susan Panuccio, then Chief Financial Officer of NI Group, had appeared
before Lord Justice Leveson to explain her role at the organisation, she too was asked, on 18 January 2012, how much News
of the World readers had donated.
A week later she replied:
'I have asked (News International's press officer) to
respond on my behalf.'
Later that day, the press officer wrote:
'As you know, we didn't disclose the amount raised by
the fund in the paper nor do we have any obligation to do so. We can confirm that the funds raised by the appeal were donated
in April last year to the official Madeleine Fund and that the fund created by News of the World is no longer active.
'I'm sorry that we are not able to help with more detail.'
And that, it seemed again, was the end of that.
maybe Nick Davies had been right. Maybe it was just the press officer that was the problem.
In May 2012, the Guardian
reported on the appointment of Guto Harri, formerly Boris Johnson's director of external affairs, as head of News International’s
head of communications.
In the report, Harri was quoted as saying:
"I would not be joining
this company myself if I thought that they condoned, and were actively involved in, any of the practices that they have rightly
been condemned for and I cannot think that the people I have met and the man I will be reporting to (Chief Executive, Tom
Mockridge) is I think without doubt the person most determined to clean up any lingering odour of bad practices."
Harri was clearly the man to take questions head on. On 1 August 2012, he was asked:
... in the light
of the new era of openness and transparency at News International and your appointment... Can you please tell me how much
money News of the World readers contributed towards the newspaper's Madeleine Fund, account number 52135590?
But the News International press officer – yes, that one – did:
'Guto passed your message to me. As you know, we didn't
disclose the amount raised by the fund in the paper.
'You could try asking the charity and see if they would
like to give you more detail.
'I'm sorry that we are not able to help.'
(Madeleine's Fund: No Stone Unturned Ltd, of course, is not a
charity. It is a limited company.)
News International, though, appeared to be serious about introducing a new culture.
It made a new hiring, a Chief Compliance Officer, said by the Guardian to be part of Rupert Murdoch's broad internal anti-corruption
Rupert Murdoch had, in August 2012, told News Corporation staff:
"To continue to be
worthy of the trust of our audiences around the world, we all have an affirmative obligation to adhere to the highest standards
of ethical behaviour, consistent with our standards of business conduct."
Fair enough. Could the new
Chief Compliance Officer help? How much did NotW readers donate to NI's bank account number 52135590?, an email asked.
The reply came a couple of weeks later, on 12 September 2012:
'I apologise for the delay in getting back to you.
'I am currently in the process of investigating this matter more fully, and hope to be able to respond to you substantively
as soon as I am in a position to do so.'
Which was excellent news.
On 2 October 2011, came an update:
'I am still investigating this, but will respond to you
substantively as soon as I am in a position to do so.'
This seemed like an awfully long time to check a bank statement.
By the beginning of December 2011, nothing more had emerged from News International and it had been fifteen months
since the press office had been asked what had happened to News of the World Reward Fund.
For some reason, News
International was having real difficulty revealing how much money it had taken from the public and given to the McCanns'
So the company was asked, once again, how much did the public donate to the News of the World Madeleine Reward
Fund in 2007?
This time, the reply came within twenty-four hours. It stated:
'In answer to your question, a total of £21,257.32
was received and banked in The Madeline (sic) Fund HSBC Bank Account No 52135590 between May 2007 and November 2007. No other
payments save those relating to this particular appeal were received from readers into this account.
2011, after a considerable length of time had passed and taking into account the circumstances of the McCann family, it was
agreed by senior executives at the News of the World that the £21,257.32 should be paid to Madeline's (sic) Fund:
Leaving No Stone Unturned. This fund is a not-for-profit company which was established to find Madeline (sic) McCann, support
her family and bring her abductors to justice.
for more details about this fund, the directors of the company as well as its objectives.
recognises that, in transferring the payments collected in 2007 to the Madeline's (sic) Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned
in April 2011, the News of the World may not have strictly complied with the terms under which that money was collected from
its readers. The article dated 13 May, 2007 stated under the heading 'How you can add to the reward': 'Should
the reward remain unpaid for any reason, the portion made up of readers' donations will be shared equally by children's
charities Barnado's, Childline and the NSPCC.' It was decided, entirely in good faith, that it would be more appropriate,
given the circumstances of the McCann family, that the money be transferred to Madeline's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned,
as opposed to splitting the donations between the three charities.
'We would like to thank you for bringing
this matter to our attention. We are in the process of notifying the three charities of the findings of our investigation
into this matter, but feel, on balance, that the decision taken to pass the money collected to Madeline's (sic) Fund:
Leaving No Stone Unturned was the right one, both ethically and morally, taking into account the difficulties and sensitivities
surrounding this tragic matter.'
The answer, after 15 months of questions, simply raised more
questions, as we shall see.
But at least someone at News International seemed to disagree with the press officer's
notion that, when asked to reveal how much money the public had donated to a fund set up by one of their newspapers, they
had no obligation to do so.
Perhaps, as Nick Davies had suggested, the press officers were truly "out of step"
with the public.
No stone left unturned?, 18 June 2014
Visitors to findmadeleine.com, the website of Madeleine's
Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, who wish to learn more about the Fund, may click on the link marked 'About Us'.
Here they can read:
'Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited (is) a not-for-profit company, aka Madeleine's
Fund, which has been established to find Madeleine McCann, support her family and bring her abductors to justice. The Fund
is following best practice governance procedures as set out in the Good Governance Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector.
The directors of the company are Brian Kennedy, Michael Linnett, Edward Smethurst, Jon Corner, Kate McCann & Gerry McCann.
They have appropriate legal, business and charitable experience. An experienced Fund Administrator has been appointed to ensure
the highest standards of transparency and accountability. This should enable the Directors to maintain an appropriate governance
distance in the day-to-day operations of the Fund.'
After News International had revealed that, in April 2011,
over £21,000 collected from News of the World readers as a reward "for information leading to the safe return of
Madeleine" had instead been paid out to Madeleine's Fund, a series of questions were put to representatives of the
Fund in an attempt to confirm what had happened to the money.
Clarence Mitchell, official spokesman for Kate and
Gerry McCann, was asked by email what had happened to the News of the World Reward Fund. He did not reply.
emails to the Find Madeleine website received only an automated response:
'Thank you for contacting the Find Madeleine Campaign. Your
email will be read by a member of our campaign team. Please understand that we receive a large volume of emails and as a result
you may not necessarily receive any further contact from us.'
A third email to the site's Webmaster eventually produced a reply:
'Sorry, I do not know the answer to your question.
'Sent from my iPad'
It was at this point, in early December 2013, that Dr. Gerry McCann
was asked what had happened to the News of the World Reward Fund. He replied:
'That is something you will need to take up with News International.
'My understanding is that the reward was made up of pledges.'
This reply contradicted the information previously given by News
International, so two further emails were sent to Dr. McCann, explaining News International’s position. He did not reply.
Two further directors of Madeleine's Fund were then approached.
Jon Corner is CEO of The Landing,
a media facilities company at Salford Quays which, according to Visit Salford, is "a totally new facility at the heart
of MediaCityUK where SMEs and micro-businesses can work alongside large media and technology organisations to drive product
efficiency and develop new industry processes."
According to his own website, Edward Smethurst is an "Award
Winning Manchester Solicitor... In March 2012, Edward won the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award at the Manchester Legal
Awards 2012, which recognised his contribution to the legal industry in addition to his charitable work that includes being
Chairman of the Madeleine McCann Fund and a trustee of Cancer Research UK."
Both directors were asked whether
the News of the World Reward cash had been paid into the Madeleine's Fund. How much? When? And had the transfer had been
a subject of discussion at any board meeting of Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd.?
Mr. Corner did not reply.
Mr. Smethurst passed the enquiry to the Fund Secretary, whose name we are not releasing at this time.
it seemed, the experienced Fund Administrator who had been appointed to ensure the highest standards of transparency and accountability.)
Early in January 2014, the Secretary wrote:
'I confirm that the Fund does not hold any reward money
for finding Madeleine. The income received in the year to which you refer was from donations.'
Once more, this was at odds with the information given by News International.
The Secretary was further asked to confirm or deny if any payment other than the £550,000 for serialisation
of Mrs. McCann's book was made by News International to the Fund in April 2011.
The Secretary replied:
'I am sorry but I am not authorised to respond further.'
In mid-January 2014, the same request was put to Mr. Smethurst.
The reply came, instead, from the Secretary:
'In light of the fact that the Board is inundated with requests
for information and we publish our accounts that are independently audited and publicly available, the Board is not prepared
to enter into answering individual queries. We are sorry that we are not able to be of further help.'
In May 2014, it was put to Mr. Smethurst and the Secretary that,
in April 2011, News International transferred the amount of £21,257.32 to Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned
Ltd. The money had been donated by readers as a reward for information leading to the safe return of Madeleine.
were given the opportunity to amend or correct the claim.
No reply was received.
So what did happen
to the News of the World readers' money?
And what happened to transparency?
Rebekah, Kate, Gerry and Cash, 23 June
|Rebekah, Kate, Gerry and Cash
A Sauce said...
Monday, 23 June 2014 at 13:50
Rebekah Brooks and Kate &
Gerry McCann at the Leveson Inquiry in 2011
- News International revealed that in April 2011 News of the World
paid out £21k 'reward' to McCanns' company
- Cash had been donated in 2007 by readers to paper's
appeal as reward for information leading to safe return of Madeleine
- If unclaimed, reward was to have been paid to
three children's charities
- Madeleine's Fund directors will not confirm payment
So who approved the
payout of the cash to the McCanns' company, Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd? And why?
Those questions were first
put to News International in September 2011.
But the company wouldn't say.
In November 2011, a press
'(I am unable)... to explain why these funds were paid out...
in April 2011 given that those staff involved in the decision have now left the business following the closure of the News
of the World.'
In December 2012, a News International executive wrote:
'In April, 2011, after a considerable length of time had
passed and taking into account the circumstances of the McCann family, it was agreed by senior executives at the News of the
World that the £21,257.32 should be paid to Madeline's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned.'
In July 2013, the same executive added:
'This decision would have been approved at the time by the
senior executives in accordance with the Company's financial approvals process.'
However, the company was still unwilling to identify them.
By January 2014, News International had relaunched itself as News UK. The same executive now wrote:
'...the decision to transfer the money to Madeline's
(sic) Fund in 2011 was made by senior executives at the company at the time who are not currently employed by News UK.
'I have not been able to find any written records relating to the payment...'
It is not clear how senior executives at the News of the World operated
within the Company's financial approvals process without leaving any written record.
Was there a clue in the
In any matter relating to the reward fund, the Editor's decision is final, the paper
From January 2007 until the paper closed in July 2011, the editor of the News of the World was Colin
Susan Panuccio and Colin Myers at
the Leveson Inquiry
Mr. Myler appeared at the Leveson Inquiry in December 2011. In his Third Witness Statement,
'The Newspaper was very supportive of Kate and Gerry and their campaign to find their daughter...
'We were very happy to undertake a number of things unconditionally. One example of this was the appeal we mounted
to raise donations (sic) to the Madeleine campaign fund. This was very successful and raised £1.5m in 48 hours.'
The payout, however, was not mentioned.
Mr. Myler did not reply to emails asking him to confirm whether
he authorised the reward money payout and which other News International executives were involved in the decision.
In her evidence to Leveson, then News International Group CFO Susan Panuccio stated:
of how funds are used (including ensuring that they are not used for illegal or unethical purposes) is primarily monitored
and controlled via the Managing Editor's Office for each title.'
The paper's Managing Editor in
April 2011 was Bill Akers. It has not been possible to contact Mr. Akers for comment.
But what prompted the decision
to pay out the money, whoever authorised it?
On April 3 2011, the News of the World noted that Mrs McCann had run
a 10k in aid of the charity Missing People. That would be the only appearance either of the McCanns would make in the newspaper
There is nothing in the paper at that time to explain the sudden decision to make the payout, so perhaps
the answer lies elsewhere.
When the McCanns appeared before Lord Leveson in November 2011, Mrs McCann was highly
critical of the News of the World. She described how she felt "totally violated" after the publication
of her personal diaries in 2008.
The McCanns went on to explain how they had negotiated with News International
to sell the serialisation rights to Mrs. McCann's book, which appeared in the Sun and Sunday Times in May 2011.
In his evidence, Mr. McCann told the Inquiry:
"...we had a couple of meetings with the general manager
and -- Will Lewis and Rebekah Brooks and others..."
In the epilogue to the paperback version of her book,
Mrs McCann confirms:
'In the spring of 2011, we met a team from News International to hear what they had
Eventually, they would offer £550,000 for serialisation rights.
News UK confirm
this figure, which appears in the accounts for Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd in y/e 30 March 2012 under Restricted Funds.
News UK also wrote:
'...the Reward Fund payout was in addition to, separate from and not included,
within the payment of £550,000 for serialisation rights to Mrs McCann's book.'
Brooks appeared before the Leveson Inquiry, she was asked by Mr Jay QC about the negotiations. In her answer she said:
"...We had been going through a list of issues that Dr McCann and Kate McCann wanted to be assured of before
we went forward with the serialisation..."
Was the Reward Fund among the issues discussed?
has not been possible to contact Mrs Brooks. Mr. Lewis referred emails regarding the Reward Fund back to News UK.
News UK say:
'...the decision taken to pass the money collected to Madeline's (sic) Fund: Leaving
No Stone Unturned was the right one, both ethically and morally, taking into account the difficulties and sensitivities surrounding
this tragic matter.'
But questions remain. If News UK are happy that the correct ethical and moral decisions
were made by their senior executives, why won't they identify them? Why, three years after paying out over £21,000,
donated by readers as a reward for information leading to the safe return of Madeleine, have they yet to make any public acknowledgement
of the payout or thank those who generously donated? Why didn't they inform the charities who missed out at the time of
And if News UK are telling the truth about handing over readers' cash – and there seems no
reason to doubt them – why are the directors of Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd so unwilling to
confirm the payment?
Follow the money, 29 June 2014
Collection box at entrance to
Ocean Club Tapas Bar in Praia da Luz, July 2007, with hand-written note from Kate McCann.
So what did happen
to the 'reward money' donated by News of the World readers in 2007 and handed to the McCanns' company in April
One thing is clear: it wasn't used to search for Madeleine.
News UK have stated that:
'...the Reward Fund payout was in addition to, separate from and not included within the payment of £550,000
for serialisation rights to Mrs McCann's book.'
According to documents at Companies House, income
to Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd in year ended March 31 2012, the period covering the April 2011 transfer,
That financial year, for the first time in the five-year reporting history of the company,
income was split into Restricted and Unrestricted Funds.
This is a common practice among charities. Typically,
a donor will request that the money given is used to support a particular aspect of the charity's activities.
But Madeleine's Fund isn't a charity. It is a limited company.
Income under Restricted Funds is shown
as £550,000, precisely the figure paid by News International for serialisation rights to Mrs McCann's book.
On p8 of the accounts, it is noted:
'Following the publication of Kate McCann's book, 'Madeleine:
Our daughter's disappearance and the continuing search for her', £550,000 was donated for the direct costs of
the search for, and the investigation into the disappearance of, Madeleine.'
No explanation is offered
in the accounts as to why it was deemed necessary to make this distinction.
Given that the 'reward money'
does not appear within Restricted Funds, it can only have been accounted for within Unrestricted Funds.
form part of the £306,393 income other than that from News International's serialisations rights payment.
Which, of course, means it could be used for expenditure other than direct costs of the search for Madeleine.
year ended March 31 2012, that expenditure amounted to £272,764.
How did the Fund spend so much money in
one year on costs other than directly searching for Madeleine?
The Fund's website, findmadeleine.com, claims
it operates to "the highest standards of transparency and accountability" but in reality, as the company's accounts
note, "the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the special provisions relating to companies subject
to the small companies regime within Part 15 of the Companies Act 2006 and in accordance with the Financial Reporting Standard
for Smaller Entities (effective April 2008)".
In practice, this means the Fund is required to offer much less
information on its activities than it would if it was indeed a charity.
Here's how that Unrestricted Funds
expenditure of £272,764 is broken down within the published accounts:
Merchandising and Campaign Costs
Tax on surplus on ordinary activities
But what are those first two figures paying for?
to the Director's Report for that year, the Fund:
- continued to pay for a 24 hour, 7 days a week telephone
line to receive and capture information provided by the general public worldwideThe accounts offer us no guidance, but it might be reasonable to assume
that those first four activities were met from Restricted Funds - where expenditure in that year amounted to an additional
£234,086 - in that they appear to be directly related to 'the search for Madeleine'.
- provided part-time administrative
support to aid the investigation and campaign to find Madeleine (campaign coordinator and media liaison)
complete hand over of all material relating to Madeleine’s abduction held by the Fund to the MPS
a small investigation team, including a Portuguese speaker to lead a private search for Madeleine. Since March 2012, private
investigation of lines of enquiry has been suspended whilst the MPS review progresses. The private investigation team employed
by the Fund continue to cooperate and work with the Metropolitan Police force as and when necessary.
to fund the awareness-raising campaign to ensure that Madeleine is not forgotten and to encourage the general public to remain
vigilant. This has included the running of the Find Madeleine website (www.findmadeleine.com)
- continued to fund
and work in partnership with a specialist Portuguese communications agency to ensure that our message is communicates as widely
and accurately as possible in Portugal.
the 'part-time administrative support' may form part of the £24,909 Administration Expenses, met from Unrestricted
Funds. The Fund doesn't say.)
But how did the Fund spend nearly a quarter of a million pounds on Merchandising
and Campaign Costs?
Perhaps some clues to the expenditure can be found back in 2008, when the Fund
published its first set of accounts, covering May 2007 to March 2008.
Then it had offered, quite reasonably, a
breakdown of its expenditure:
Extract from accounts of Madeleine's
Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd for year ending 31 March 2008.
That breakdown showed that of the £815k total expenditure, just £250k, a curiously round number, had
been spent on 'Search fees'.
Nearly £82k had been spent on 'Awareness', perhaps advertising
costs. Over £37k had been spent on a rudimentary website.
£123k had been spent on Campaign Management,
fees to PR professionals.
£26k had been spent on Media Monitoring, which Wikipedia notes as 'a beneficial
tool to evaluate the efforts and progress of a PR firm.'
But perhaps most surprising of all were some
of the other costs identified.
Legal fees and expenses amounted to over £111k. What these legal fees covered
remains unclear, but what they didn't cover were legal fees associated with the constitution of the Fund itself. Those
amounted to an additional £68k.
Administering the Fund cost another £36k in 'Fund professional
fees', £13k for 'Auditors' remuneration' and £7k 'Accountancy fees'.
That would be the only occasion on which the Fund would offer any breakdown of its expenditure. For the next five years,
it simply restricted itself to one figure for Merchandise and Campaign Costs, another for Administration expenses and a third
It would perhaps be wrong to compare the breakdown of expenditure in 2007/08 to that in 2011/12.
But it seems unlikely that News of the World readers who, in 2007, had given their cash as a reward for information leading
to the safe return of Madeleine - and had been told that, in the event of the reward not being claimed, it would be paid instead
to three children's charities - ever envisaged that their donations would be used to pay lawyers, auditors, accountants
and PR guys.
And with not a word of thanks, this time, from Kate and Gerry McCann.
Gone. But not forgotten., 08 July 2014
|Gone. But not forgotten.
A Sauce said...
Tuesday, 8 July 2014 at 21:54
Findmadeleine.com bills itself as 'The official site to find Madeleine
Whether the website achieves its aim before the combined forces of the Metropolitan Police and the
Polícia Judiciária remains to be seen.
But it doesn't seem capable of looking after even itself.
Some of its pages have gone missing.
Visitors who click on 'Updates' are offered a series of 25 blog entries
by Kate and Gerry McCann dating from 23 March 2009 to 11 June 2014.
But until the end of June this year, you could
have found another 17 or so entries. Those messages, posted between 14 January 2010 and Christmas 2012, have simply disappeared
from the site.
Why might that be?
It may, of course, be a simple glitch that will soon be resolved.
Alternatively, it may have been a deliberate removal of information that may have proved difficult or embarrassing, in retrospect,
Like the entry for Monday 2 May 2011.
Unlike in the real world, nothing really disappears
from the internet. Sites like gerrymccannsblogs.co.uk and mccannfiles.com are dedicated to preserving information related
to the disappearance of Madeleine.
And, especially for the avoidance of doubt, the Wayback Machine (archive.org.web)
is an invaluable tool, capturing as it does the content of websites at particular points in time.
Here is a snapshot
from findmadeleine.com taken by the Wayback Machine on 4 May 2011:
Here, Kate McCann explains what "an incredibly
busy year so far" 2011 had been.
She explains how there had been three fundraising events between January
and March. She mentions the money raised - though not how much - and thanks everybody who supported these events.
She writes about the launch of her book on 8 May 2011, which "poignantly and coincidentally happens to be Madeleine's
She reiterates her gratitude to supporters "for not forgetting".
But what she forgets to do is mention anything about the News of the World Reward Fund.
Which seems odd, because
in the weeks preceding this update, in April 2011, the News of the World had quietly handed over to Madeleine's Fund some
£21,000 that had been donated by readers in 2007 towards a reward for information leading to the safe return of Madeleine.
Why did Kate McCann not take this opportunity to thank those very readers?
Why, along with the News of
the World and News International, did she not want anyone to know about the payment?
Why do the McCanns and their
fellow directors of Leaving No Stone Unturned Ltd continue to refuse to acknowledge accepting this money?
readers' donations simply disappear, like lost webpages, into payments for lawyers, accountants and PR men?
it look a little greedy, taking £21,000 that should rightly have gone to three children's charities, at precisely
the same time the Fund was about to receive another 'donation' of £550,000 from News International for serialisation
rights to Mrs McCann's book?
Is that what's so embarrassing?
Or is it the acknowledgement that
cashing in the reward money makes it look like you know your daughter isn't coming back?