The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2008/2009*

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 
The Sun, front page, 25 November 2009
The Sun, front page, 25 November 2009

McCanns hire crack team of ex-FBI agents to find Madeleine, 13 August 2008
McCanns hire crack team of ex-FBI agents to find Madeleine Daily Mail

By NIALL FIRTH
Last updated at 12:25 PM on 13th August 2008


Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a team of crack U.S detectives to lead the hunt for their missing daughter Madeleine, it has emerged.

The unnamed US firm is said to have been offered a £500,000 six-month contract by the Find Madeleine Fun to help spearhead the search.

A friend of the McCanns said: 'The hunt for Madeleine is becoming more and more international and it was felt that a truly international firm was now needed to lead the inquiry.

"These really are the big boys. They are absolutely the best, but they are extremely secretive and cloak-and-dagger about what they do.

'Since their appointment, Metodo has very much taken a back seat and they are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar into north Africa, where they have their main contacts.

'The American agency is pretty much handling everything else.'

The secretive firm is said to employ ex-FBI, CIA and U.S special forces, according to the Daily Mirror.

The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell, said: 'Kate and Gerry made it clear from the outset they would leave no stone unturned in finding Madeleine and that means employing the very best people in any given field.

'It is correct that an international firm of investigators have been appointed.

'But I am unable to say anything at all about them because of the covert nature of their work and the need for secrecy, not only in looking for Madeleine, but also in relation to previous operations.'

The McCanns now have detectives working around the world at a reported cost of £166,000 a month.

Among the possible sightings they are following up, apparently ignored by Portuguese police, is one by a British yachtsman on the Caribbean island of Margarita last May.

The appointment of the U.S firm comes after it was revealed that a suspected sighting of Madeleine in Brussels was ruled out by police.

A blonde girl had been seen with a woman in a hijab at the KBC bank in the Belgium capital and the McCanns had been treating the sighting as a priority.

However their hopes were dashed when a man came forward and confirmed that the girl was his daughter out with her nanny.

Secret A-Team in hunt for Maddie, 14 August 2008
Secret A-Team in hunt for Maddie Daily Star (no longer available online)

By Jerry Lawton
14th August 2008


Desperate Kate and Gerry McCann have forked out £500,000 on an "A-Team" of former top spooks to find missing daughter Madeleine.

The couple now have "a global operation" of dozens of retired FBI, CIA and even MI5 agents dedicated to solving the mystery of her disappearance.

The top secret team has been given six months to solve the riddle.

Doctors Kate and Gerry, both 40, have vowed to keep up the search for five-year-old Madeleine after the latest sighting at a Belgian bank was ruled out.

And the couple, from Rothley, Leics, have been reassured their new team of private eyes will follow up every lead around the world.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "There is a global operation working for Kate and Gerry.

"They are internationally-based with components in Britain, America, Europe and other countries where sightings have been made."

The new team, appointed three months ago, is half way through a six-month contract.

Mr Mitchell explained: "A sum of £500,000 has been committed to them from the Find Madeleine Fund.

"They have been on board for a few months and are on a six-month contract.

"For security reasons we can't go into detail of the experts involved but it would not be wrong to say some are former military and police personnel with a degree of expertise."

Last night Mr Mitchell revealed there had been several more sightings of Madeleine in Belgium on top of 30 reported in the past week.

He said: "A number of these sightings have been well-meaning and have been looked at but ruled out.

"Kate and Gerry are not getting excited or upset by the reported sightings."

A family source added: "Unfortunately, with all the publicity, there have been some copycat sightings which police are not taking at all seriously."

The couple's Spanish-based detective agency Metodo 3 are still working on an £8,000-a-month retainer.

They are being kept on because of their local knowledge and contacts.

Mr Mitchell explained: "Spain, Portugal and North Africa still remain the most likely places where Madeleine could be.

"However, with recent sightings in Amsterdam and Brussels, we have the power to have investigators out on the ground immediately."

Madeleine fund in chaos as private eyes are axed after draining £500,000, 23 August 2008
Madeleine fund in chaos as private eyes are axed after draining £500,000 Daily Mail (no longer available online)

Mail on Sunday, 24 August 2008

By DANIEL BOFFEY and MILES GOSLETT
Last updated at 10:14 PM on 23rd August 2008

A team of private investigators working behind the scenes to find Madeleine McCann has been axed after being paid £500,000 from publicly donated funds.

The Find Madeleine Fund quietly engaged the services of a US-based company which was awarded the lucrative six-month contract earlier this year.

The company, Oakley International, which boasts former British security service and FBI contacts, was hired to monitor the Madeleine Hotline, carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of possible sightings of the missing girl around the world.

A source revealed that the company had also spent resources in an attempt to infiltrate a paedophile ring in Belgium.

However, the company's contract will now not be renewed. The Mail on Sunday has learned that double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy, who has been underwriting the fund's search for Madeleine, has conducted a review of the agency's work and has become unhappy with the progress it was making.

The deal was abruptly ended following a meeting last week after the fund brought in independent monitors to assess how the money was spent.

The cost of employing the agency - run by a Briton, Kevin Halligen - has drained the Madeleine fund and there is now less than £500,000 left.

The development is likely to dismay the thousands who gave to the appeal, and raise questions about how the fund has been administered.

Mr Kennedy, who owns Sale Sharks rugby club, was said to be 'angry' because he believed Oakley's bills, estimated to be more than £80,000 a month, were too much for the results they achieved.

A source said: 'There is a sense that they were meaning well but hadn't got as far as they should for the money involved.

'Brian Kennedy thought their work was far too pricey and wanted to know where the money was being spent. He wasn't satisfied with their answers and the contract was not renewed.

'Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, have been kept informed all along and agree with the decision. A lot of people were asking questions about where the money was being spent.'

Oakley International won the contract after an introduction by another company, Red Defence International (RDI), based in Jermyn Street, Central London.

Listed as being involved with both companies was Mr Halligen, 47, a communications expert. He is given as the 'contact name' for Oakley International Group, a company registered in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment.

The company says it has annual sales of £33,000 and only one employee, who appears to be Mr Halligen.

The address given for the company is 2550 M Street NW Washington, which is the downtown office of Patton Boggs, one of the largest and most powerful law companies in America.

A source at the law firm said last night that the lawyer who represented Mr Halligen was unavailable for comment.

RDI, formed in 2005, bills itself as 'an experienced provider of crisis prevention, management and expertise'. It claims to have a presence in Washington DC and Virginia and representation in the Middle East, Africa and Central America.

However, its latest set of accounts is two months overdue and it faces being fined by HM Revenue & Customs.

Among the main players working on the McCann contract were Mr Halligen and Henri Exton, 57, who headed the Greater Manchester Police undercover unit until 1993. He then worked for the Government before moving into the private sector.

One day after a crisis meeting last week with the Madeleine fund administrators, Mr Halligen resigned as a director of RDI.

Mr Exton, of Bury, Lancashire, has the Queen’s Police Medal and an OBE. During the Seventies and Eighties his work included uncovering organised crime rings and recruiting supergrasses.

He also infiltrated football gangs, at one stage becoming a leader of the Young Guvnors, who followed Manchester City, and was forced to take part in organised incidents to preserve his cover.

Previously, the McCann fund had employed a Spanish detective agency called Metodo 3. However, the fund lost confidence in them, especially after they announced they would find Madeleine by last Christmas.

She had disappeared from the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, nine days short of her fourth birthday.

A spokesman for the McCanns said yesterday: 'Kate and Gerry, the fund and their backers have always sought to employ the very best people and resources in the ongoing search for Madeleine.

'Kate and Gerry, via the fund and the backers, continue to employ many such resources and it is true that Red Defence and Oakley were part of those resources.

'I simply will not comment on any personnel, financial or operational details whatsoever.'

No one could be reached for comment at Oakley International or Red Defence International.

Mr Kennedy, estimated to be worth about £250million, became involved after being moved by the plight of the McCanns during the period they were made formal suspects – arguidos – in Madeleine's disappearance. Portuguese prosecutors dropped the couple's arguido status last month.

The 47-year-old made his money in double-glazing and home improvement ventures with companies including Everest windows. His Latium Group business empire has an annual turnover of about £400million.

Madeleine McCann: Investigators axed after being paid £500,000, 24 August 2008
Madeleine McCann: Investigators axed after being paid £500,000 Telegraph (no longer available online)

A firm of private investigators hired to hunt for Madeleine McCann have been dropped after being paid £500,000.

By Subhajit Banerjee
Last Updated: 10:46AM BST 24 Aug 2008

The US-based team had been given a six-month contract earlier this year and were paid from money donated to the Find Madeleine Fund.

Their contract will not be renewed after double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy - who is underwriting the fund's search - became unhappy with the progress it was making.

Oakley International, which boasts former British security service and FBI contacts, was hired to monitor the Madeleine Hotline, carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of possible Madeleine sightings.

Mr Kennedy reportedly believes the agency's bills - estimated to be over £80,000 a month - were not justified by their results, the Mail on Sunday reports.

Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate McCann have been kept informed all along and agree with the decision.

Oakley International Group, a company registered in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment, is run by Briton Kevin Halligen.

Madeleine McCann had disappeared from the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, nine days short of her fourth birthday.

A spokesman for the McCanns refused to comment on 'personnel, financial or operational details'.



Update:

Madeleine McCann: Investigators dropped after being paid £500,000
Telegraph (no longer available online)

A firm of private investigators hired to hunt for Madeleine McCann are being dropped after being paid £500,000.

By Richard Edwards and Subhajit Banerjee
Last Updated: 2:30PM BST 24 Aug 2008

The US-based team, which boasts former British security service and FBI contacts, had been given a six-month contract earlier this year and were paid from the Find Madeleine Fund.

It is understood their contract will not be renewed at the end of the month in a review led by double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy - who is underwriting the fund's search.

Oakley International was hired discreetly just before the anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May. It monitored a Madeleine Hotline number, followed up leads and reviewed CCTV footage of possible sightings.

Mr Kennedy reportedly believes the agency's bills - estimated to be over £80,000 a month - were not justified by their results.

Most of the money spent on the agency came from a £550,000 libel pay out from Express Newspapers in March. Around £450,000 remains in the fund.

Several private investigators have been used to track down the missing girl, including Metedo3, a Spanish agency. The fund lost confidence in them, especially after they announced they would find Madeleine by last Christmas, and the agency is now used only sparingly.

Oakley International won the contract after an introduction by another company, Red Defence International (RDI), based in Jermyn Street, central London.

A spokesman for the McCanns said: "Kate and Gerry, the fund and their backers have continually sought to employ the best people in the search for Madeleine. Red Defence and Oakley International were part of a large number of resources employed in recent months.

"Their contract is continuing for the immediate future and will be reviewed when it ends, as you would expect. We will not be comment on the detail of any personnel, financial or operational arrangements."

Lawyers and investigators for the McCanns are still combing through the police files released in Portugal earlier this month after Mr and Mrs McCann were released from their status as official suspects or "arguidos". They are looking for leads they fear police ignored after focusing the investigation on the McCanns.

"The search is very much ongoing," said the spokesman, "and there is certainly no crisis in the fund."

Press Release from FindMadeleine website, 26 August 2008
Oakley International FindMadeleine.com (no longer available online)
 
Oakley International statement, 26 August 2008
Date Released: 26/08/2008

In the light of articles in some UK Sunday newspapers this weekend, we feel it is appropriate to comment briefly on our relationship with the investigation company Oakley International.

We appointed them several months ago to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. We continue to work with them to this end. The working relationship is managed by Brian Kennedy, who also confirms the relationship with Oakley International continues to be good and that it remains entirely focused on the search for Madeleine.

Madeleine detectives' axing denied, 29 August 2008
Madeleine detectives' axing denied Portugal News online

30/08/2008 (First appeared online 29/08/2008)

Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of missing toddler Madeleine McCann have denied they have decided to axe private investigators Oakley International following allegations the company has drained the McCann’s fund of nearly half a million pounds.

Reports on Sunday claimed they were supported in doing so by Madeleine Fund underwriter Brian Kennedy, a self-made millionaire, who was also said to be dissatisfied with the investigators' work.

It was said he considered their approximate £100,000-per-month fee "excessive" for the results that were being obtained.

This has since been refuted.

A written entry on the official 'Find Madeleine' website said, "In the light of articles in some UK Sunday newspapers this weekend, we feel it is appropriate to comment briefly on our relationship with the investigation company Oakley International.

"We appointed them several months ago to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. We continue to work with them to this end. The working relationship is managed by Brian Kennedy, who also confirms the relationship with Oakley International continues to be good and that it remains entirely focused on the search for Madeleine".

Oakley International, which is made up of ex-British special forces officers and has FBI contacts, won the contract over the London-based Red Defence International (RDI), though one of the employees, 47-year-old communications expert known as Mr. Halligen, is listed as being involved with both companies.

Weekend reports in the UK claim Halligen is given as the 'contact name' for Oakley International Group, a company registered in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment, and is also, reportedly, a director of RDI.

The
company says it has annual sales of around €45,000 and only one employee, which appears to be Mr Halligen.

Initial reports alleged that the day after a crisis meeting last week with the Madeleine Fund administrators, Mr Halligen resigned as a director of RDI.

Previously the McCann Fund had employed a Spanish detective agency called Metodo 3, who were also axed after claims they would 'find Madeleine before Christmas' failed.

A McCann spokesperson said yesterday, "Kate and Gerry, the fund and their backers have always sought to employ the very best people and resources in the ongoing search for Madeleine".

A search that is, according to the McCanns, still continuing.

Edition: 974

Red Defence in Red Zone, 09 October 2008
Red Defence in Red Zone Intelligence Online

09/10/2008 Washington

Fired abruptly by the Find Madeline Fund which has sought to find Madeline McCann, Red Defence International also wrangled in the past with Trafigura.

An affiliate of Red Defence International, a firm headed by Britain's Kevin Halligen, the investigative concern Oakley International Group was hired in March, 2008 to help find Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old British child who vanished in May, 2007 from a hotel on the Portuguese coast.

In late August, the Find Madeline Fund, which bankrolls the search for the child, suddenly cut all links with Oakley International, officially for "inadequate results."

It wasn't the first time that companies owned by Halligen, who took part in MI 5 operations in Northern Ireland, have encountered problems with their customers.

In September, 2006, Red Defence was retained by the Trafigura trading group after two of its senior executives, Claude Dauphin and Jean-Pierre Valentini, were arrested and clapped behind bars in Ivory Coast. A month previously, the Probo Koala, a ship chartered by Trafigura, had discharged toxic waste in dumps in the port of Abidjan.

Red Defence, whose contact with Trafigura was lawyer Marc Aspinall, pulled out all the stops to secure the release of Dauphin and Valentini. Through the firm WatchWood, Red Defence leased a Falcon business jet from the South African group Aerotrade, headed by Fred Rutte, and kept it on stand-by for months, at great expense.

Red Defence additionally approached a private British security concern Oceans Five run by John Nash to ask that it provide commandos to mount an operation to rescue Dauphin and Valentini from Maca prison in Abidjan.

The operation, initially planned for mid-January, 2007, was put back on several occasions. Trafigura, which was negotiating simultaneously with the Ivory Coast authorities for the release of its executives, was worried about the constant postponements and the prohibitive cost of the operation.

It finally cut all ties with Red Defence in February, 2007. Shortly afterwards, Dauphin and Valentini were released after the payment of USD 198 million that was destined to cover the cost of a clean-up of waste from Probo Koala.

Subsequently, Trafigura's lawyer, Aspinall, demanded that sub-contractors hired by Red Defence reimburse some of the money paid to them , threatening legal proceedings.

Following that setback, Halligen moved to the United States and founded Oakley Security Services, whose initials OSS evoked those of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the CIA. He re-named the firm Oakley International Group and teamed up with the lobbying concern Patton Boggs run by Thomas Boggs.

RYECROFT CONSULTANTS SA v. HALLIGEN et al, 09 April 2009
RYECROFT CONSULTANTS SA v. HALLIGEN et al, Justia Dockets & Filings

 
RYECROFT CONSULTANTS SA v. HALLIGEN et al

Plaintiff: RYECROFT CONSULTANTS SA
Defendants: KEVIN RICHARD HALLIGEN, OAKLEY INTERNATIONAL GROUP, LLC and OAKLEY STRATEGIC SERVICES, LLC
 
Case Number: 1:2009cv00655
Filed: April 9, 2009
 
Court: District Of Columbia District Court
Office: Securities/Commodities Office
County: 99999
Presiding Judge: Judge Rosemary M. Collyer
 
Nature of Suit: Other Statutes - Securities/Commodities/Exchanges
Cause: Federal Question
Jurisdiction: Federal Question
Jury Demanded By: 28:1331 Fed. Question

The McCann files, 29 August 2009
The McCann files ES magazine (London Evening Standard - paper edition only)

ES magazine, 28 August 2009
(Note: This article has already been removed from the online version of ES magazine and replaced by the message: 'Content has been suppressed for editorial and/or legal reasons')

By Mark Hollingsworth 
Issue: Friday 28 August 2009

Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.



It was billed as a 'significant development' in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as 'a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike', and appealed for help in tracing her. The woman was seen 'looking agitated' outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine's disappearance. 'It is a strong lead', said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones. 'Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.'

But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.

The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter's disappearance in May 2007.

The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set up Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed 'to procure that Madeleine's abduction is thoroughly investigated'. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. 'His motivation was sincere,' said someone who worked closely with him. 'He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.'

Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain's 'language and cultural connection' with Portugal. 'If we'd had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors slammed in our faces' said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann's at the time. 'And it's quite likely that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it's illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation.'

The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco. But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. 'We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be home by Christmas,' boasted Metodo 3's flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract was not renewed.

Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.

ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered that:

* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive, notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour 'stake out'.

* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.

* Key witnesses were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police

* Many of the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.
By April 2008, nearing the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover police officer who worked on M15 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be 'top secret' and 'on a need to know basis'. The operation would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would fly in at short notice. This sounded very exiting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. 'The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than these boy's own, glory boy antics,' he said.

But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen's UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James's. Only a tiny group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy. A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.

Born in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980's. While not popular among his colleagues, in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later awarded the Queen's Police Medal for 'outstanding bravery'. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.

While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved to Bury in Lancashire.

While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a 'Walter Mitty figure'. He used false names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself 'Kevin' or 'Richard' or 'Patrick' at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ, but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field of new information technology, researching the use of 'special batteries'. He told former colleagues and potential girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.

Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. 'He was very good company but only when it suited him,' says one friend. 'He kept people in compartments.'

After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen's first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.

Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.

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. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. 'He was there virtually the whole day,' a former colleague told ES. 'He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.'

When not imbibing in St James's, Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen 'received monies for Oakley's services rendered and deposited the same into his personal accounts' and 'repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley's bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses'.

Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.

Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds. Exton genuinely believed that progress was being made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote 'between one and ten'. But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.

While Kennedy and Gerry McCann accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen. One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for 'accrued expenses to May 5, 2008' (just one month into the contract), Oakley charged $74,155. The 'point of contact' was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.

While Kennedy was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann – sharp, focused and intelligent – was more sceptical. The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus expenses had been spent.

For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous 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. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm, the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.

Oakley International Group's web presence, 19 September 2009

Oakley International Group, screenshot taken 19 September 2009. Click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge

FBI: Department of Justice Press Release, 12 November 2009

FBI: Department of Justice Press Release
Click image to enlarge

Madeleine McCann detective facing £1m fraud charge, 21 November 2009
Madeleine McCann detective facing £1m fraud charge Daily Mail

By DANIEL BOFFEY and MARK HOLLINGSWORTH
Last updated at 10:15 PM on 21st November 2009

Missing: Madeleine McCann vanished in May 2007

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.

Madeleine McCann fund hired 'secret agent' conman, 22 November 2009
Madeleine McCann fund hired 'secret agent' conman Timesonline

From The Sunday Times
November 22, 2009 (appeared online November 21, 2009)


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 about Halligen.

"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 nothing."

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 fraud.

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 Madeleine."

On the run from the SAS, the FBI, and his fake wife too, pages 10-11



Kevin Halligen: On the run from friends, the FBI and his fake wife too Timesonline

Kevin Halligen

From The Sunday Times
November 22, 2009 (appeared online November 21, 2009)


THE wedding guests arrived in black limousines to see a British secret agent marry his US government lawyer bride, surrounded by the strictest of security.

From the grand 19th-century Evermay mansion, where the ceremony took place, the guests had commanding views of America's power base, Washington, DC.

It is a city where former intelligence operatives and military men mix warily with politicians and power-brokers, looking for lucrative government security contracts.

Among the guests at the wedding were a former CIA station chief and a security adviser to Barack Obama. The best man had once been special operations marine colonel.

The guests were some of the best-informed people in the capital. Yet none knew that the wedding was a sham, the priest was an amateur actor and Richard Halligen, the groom, was an imposter.

Halligen, 50, is better known as Kevin Halligen in Britain (or more precisely Halligan with an "a", according to his birth certificate).

The wedding was part of a illusion that has seen him take in some of the most senior figures in the intelligence world on both sides of the Atlantic with a mixture of charm and trickery.

On the way he has made considerable sums from the Madeleine McCann fund and more than £1m from a deal involving a company accused of dumping toxic waste. He has left a string of creditors behind. His debts are said to amount to more than £3m.

Halligen is now on the run after last being spotted with a girlfriend at the Royal Crescent hotel in Bath.

His pursuers include the former head of undercover operations for the UK police, a City lawyer, a Washington lobbyist, his former bride and a former head of the SAS, who blames himself for helping to launch Halligen into the world of intelligence and security.

The United States justice department, on behalf of the FBI, has issued an indictment seeking his arrest for an alleged £1.2m fraud.

The secretive nature of the security and intelligence community provided the perfect cloak for the talented Mr Halligen. It is a world where people do not talk openly about their past exploits, because they are frequently matters covered by the Official Secrets Act.

A Dubliner by birth, Halligen came to England in the late 1970s and held a series of consultancy jobs as an electronics specialist. His first spell as a director was for his girlfriend's catering company in Surrey, from which he resigned in 2001.

However, the stories he spun to colleagues and girlfriends about his history were much more colourful. They say he claimed variously to have worked for GCHQ, MI5, MI6 and the CIA, or at least implied as much.

In his résumé he claimed to have worked on government defence projects for more than 20 years. "Kevin," he wrote of himself, "has operational experience in Northern Ireland and the Middle East and retains close links with special projects, special forces and the international government security community."

He also claimed to have contributed to a high-level report assessing Britain's resilience to terrorist attacks. However, this, like his claims to have briefed the Pentagon on Iraq, was at best fanciful.

His first entry into the private security business was as technical director for the Inkerman Group, a company set up by Gerald Moor, an ex-army intelligence officer. The job ended abruptly in 2003 after Halligen drank Moor's stocks of champagne and "irreplaceable" burgundy while house-sitting for a couple of weeks.

At the same time, the company vetted Halligen and found worrying anomalies. "Nothing seemed to check out. He had two different birth mothers, according to the forms he had filled out," said Moor.

Once in the security world, however, Halligen began forging business contacts and friendships. A key to this was his membership of the exclusive Special Forces Club in Knightsbridge, central London.

Membership is usually open only to those who have served in the UK's secret services or special forces, but his name was nonetheless put forward in 2002 by two of the club's staunchest members: Major Donald Palmer, its then chairman, and Major-General John Holmes, a former commander of the SAS and former director of special forces.

Both men — who knew Halligen through business — now bitterly regret helping him. "We were all taken in," said Holmes, who now devotes considerable amounts of his time to finding Halligen.

"I feel partly responsible because I introduced him to people, my friends, some of whom are now owed money. I just want to see that he is brought to book."

Using his contacts, Halligen set up his own companies. His initial venture Chimera (dictionary definition: "vain or idle fantasy") was short-lived, and Halligen formed Red Defence International in 2004.

It was a crisis in Ivory Coast in September 2006 that was to transform Halligen and his company's fortunes.

Claude Dauphin, the president of the Dutch company Trafigura, had been seized with another executive in the African state. They were accused of dumping toxic waste near the country's largest city, Abidjan, which had poisoned thousands of people.

Halligen's company was paid £460,000 a month to identify the key power brokers in Ivory Coast and negotiate the executives' safe return. This did not turn out to be enough, however.

By now Halligen was operating from plush offices in Washington and, at some point, had acquired a defence department security pass. He used the cash from Trafigura to hire the services of some of the most powerful private security organisations in the city.

By January 2007, there was real concern. The Christmas deadline for the release of the two executives had passed and their families were becoming desperate.

Halligen met the Trafigura's British lawyer, Mark Aspinall, at a Washington hotel and asked for an extra £1.2m for a lobbying campaign to persuade the US government to intervene in the dispute.

Aspinall's London law firm was given the money by Trafigura and paid it into a personal bank account that had been set up by Halligen in Washington.

The money went into his account on January 10 and the following day £1m went out to pay for Halligen's palatial new home in Great Falls, Virginia.

The two Trafigura executives were freed the following month when the company paid £120m to the Ivory Coast government.

The deal had little to do with Halligen; but the company was so relieved that it did not inquire how he had spent the money intended for lobbying.

Aspinall, meanwhile, had struck up a friendship with Halligen during the crisis. When Halligen asked him to invest in Oakley International, his new Washington company, Aspinall handed over £300,000 and later made a personal loan of another £150,000. He has not seen a penny of that money since.

Halligen is thought to have made £1m in profit from the Trafigura work on top of the money that he spent on his home. He spent thousands of pounds staying at the Willard hotel in Washington — where he met his "bride", Maria Dybczak, a trade lawyer for the commerce department, when he accidentally stepped on her dress.

Dybczak has spoken to The Sunday Times but did not wish to be quoted in the article.

Halligen had told Dybczak that he had previously worked closely with MI5 and MI6. Sometimes he also claimed, for effect, that he had met her in Bosnia years earlier. He did not tell Dybczak that he already had a wife in Britain whom he had married in 1991 but never divorced.

His £360,000 wedding to Dybczak, in spring 2007, was the perfect opportunity to confirm his entry into the Washington elite. Just 40 hours before the ceremony was due to take place in Washington's most expensive home, Halligen dropped his bombshell.

He told Dybczak that his spy masters in Britain would not allow his name to be made public on a marriage certificate. "He said he was in ops so black that he could not allow his name to be on anything," said a source close to Halligen.

The couple persuaded the catering manager, who was the director of a local theatre group, to play the role of the priest.

When Halligen slipped the £120,000 ring on his new "wife's" finger, the scores of powerful guests had no idea.

One of the guests was Andre Hollis, a lobbyist who became chief executive of Halligen's Washington company. "It was like a global intelligence debutante ball," he said. "And nobody knew it was fake."

Not even the best man, Colonel John Garrett, a defence lobbyist for the blue-chip Washington law firm Patton Boggs, was let in on the secret. Nor was the most powerful guest in the room, Noel Koch, a security expert who has now become a deputy undersecretary in the defence department.

He said: "We found out later that it was not a real wedding. The priest was an actor."

Koch says Halligen was a curious character: "He used to be difficult to understand because many of the conversations were sotto voce. It was like we're all spies together and the walls were listening."

Also on the guest list from England were Palmer, Aspinall and Henri Exton, a former national head of undercover operations for the police.

It was Exton's expertise that was to be used in the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

Madeleine had been missing for a year when Brian Kennedy, the millionaire philanthropist who had invested heavily in a fund to find the little girl, contacted Halligen's firm via Exton.

At the initial meeting, Halligen seemed impressive. He offered the McCanns undercover surveillance and intelligence gathering in Portugal, as well as promising to provide satellite imagery and details of telephone traffic from the night Madeleine disappeared.

The contract was agreed with Oakley International, and the money was paid into the company's American account through a middle company called Housing Agent Holdings.

Former colleagues say Halligen was out of his depth and had no experience of such investigations. So the detective work on the ground was done by Exton and other contractors, who produced a series of reports pointing to new leads.

Halligen was supposed to provide the technical data such as the satellite imagery from his contacts in Washington. "As far as I am aware," said one source, "all he came up with was a Google Earth image."

The McCanns themselves were increasingly concerned about Halligen. "He had this sense of cloak and dagger, acting as if he were a James Bond style spy," said a friend close to the family. "The McCanns found him hard to deal with, because he was forever in another country and using different phones. He promised the earth but it came to nothing."

The contract came to an end in October last year and was not renewed. Halligen's company had received £500,000, but the contractors who did the work are owed more than £300,000. Cheques bounced despite Halligen's promises.

Exton, who was more than £100,000 out of pocket, switched his investigation into Halligen himself. As a result of his initial inquiries, he approached Aspinall, who was also concerned about his investment.

In October last year, as the pressure mounted, Halligen decided he needed a holiday in Rome. He told Dybczak that his "former employers" in London had leaked details of his undercover operations in Northern Ireland and he needed to go into "hiding".

While texting Dybczak to say he loved her, he flew first-class to Rome with a new girlfriend and her dog, paid for by his company. They settled in the five-star Cavalieri hotel and enjoyed its Michelin three-star restaurant. The £12,700 bill was paid for on his company credit card.

Back in Washington, it was dawning on Hollis that nobody had been paid and the Madeleine money had gone. The £50,000 he invested in the company had also evaporated. Exton and Aspinall called in a forensic accountant to look at the books and the results were alarming.

In just over a year Halligen had skimmed off £600,000 from the company for his personal benefit. More than £150,000 had been spent on improvements on his new house. Payments to labourers, electricians and plumbers were all itemised.

After the first tranches of the Madeleine fund money went into the account, Halligen withdrew more than £130,000 for his personal use. The payments were often disguised as transfers to Dybczak, but she has confirmed the money was for his benefit.

Halligen is now believed to be back in Britain travelling with an old girlfriend. Dybczak has not seen him since he left Italy. He owes her £45,000, and her parents have not been paid back £170,000 they lent him. Patton Boggs, his lawyers, are also owed cash.

Having amassed a file of evidence, Exton called in the FBI, which is now seeking the "secret agent".

Insight: Jonathan Calvert and Claire Newell

On the run from the SAS, the FBI and his fake wife too, 22 November 2009
On the run from the SAS, the FBI and his fake wife too The Times (paper edition)

The Sunday Times, 22 November 2009
The Sunday Times, 22 November 2009

FBI searches for detective who worked on Madeleine McCann case, 22 November 2009
FBI searches for detective who worked on Madeleine McCann case Guardian

By Ben Quinn
Sunday 22 November 2009

Parents of missing child Madeleine McCann, Kate and Gerry McCann look at a giant billboard of their daughter on the beach near the Portuguese resort of Lagos. Photograph: Reuters

A British security consultant who was paid £300,000 to assist efforts by Kate and Gerry McCann to find their daughter Madeleine is being sought by the FBI over an alleged £1.3m fraud.

A £500,000 contract given to Kevin Halligen's private detective agency, Oakley International, to help with the search for the missing child was terminated last year after a major benefactor of the McCanns expressed concerns about the quality of the firm's work.

However, Halligen is now wanted by the FBI following an indictment issued by US authorities in connection with allegations that he defrauded a London law firm of money that was supposed to be used to lobby for the release of two executives from the Dutch company Trafigura, arrested in the Ivory Coast.

He is accused of using the money to buy a mansion in Great Falls, Virginia, that sources close to the McCanns believe may also have been funded by money intended to be spent on efforts to find Madeleine.

Halligen, an Irishman living in the UK who presented himself in private security industry circles as a former intelligence operative, owes £100,000 to others who carried out work on the Madeleine case, the Sunday Times reported.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: "Oakley International was contracted to help with the search for Madeleine. Due diligence was carried out at every stage and payment was only made for work properly carried out. It was only towards the end of the six-month contract that question marks were raised about delivery in some areas and the contract was terminated."

The McCanns did not contact the police about Halligen, who visited their home, but his behaviour aroused suspicions at an early stage among the couple and their advisers.

Oakley International secured the contract from the Find Madeleine Fund to monitor the phone hotline, sift through CCTV footage of possible sightings and carry out investigative work.

However, it was terminated after the British double-glazing millionaire Brian Kennedy, who has underwritten the fund's work, raised concerns. Documents reportedly show that Halligen's company was withdrawing large amounts of money for personal use.

'Private detective' fleeced missing Madeleine McCann fund of £300,000, 22 November 2009
'Private detective' fleeced missing Madeleine McCann fund of £300,000 Daily Mail

By NEIL SEARS
Last updated at 9:10 PM on 22nd November 2009

Missing: Madeleine McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007, in Praia da Luz, Portugal

A 'Walter Mitty' private investigator who claimed to be an experienced secret agent was allegedly paid £300,000 from the funds raised to try to find Madeleine McCann.

Thousands of members of the public donated money to Gerry and Kate McCann's fund after their three-year-old daughter went missing during a holiday in Portugal in May 2007.

Now it has emerged that a sizeable portion of that money was paid to self-proclaimed security consultant Kevin Halligen, 50, a Briton who boasted that secret service contacts in Washington DC could provide satellite images of Portugal from the night Madeleine disappeared.

In fact, it is claimed, the only satellite picture he produced came from the publicly available Google Earth website - and late last year he disappeared from Washington after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a warrant for his arrest over an alleged £1million fraud.

The McCanns' MP, Stephen Dorrell, said: 'This man appears to have seen 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 Madeleine.'

A source close to the McCanns said: 'Kate and Gerry are doctors from Leicestershire, they aren't experts in private investigations.

'Their millionaire benefactor Brian Kennedy helped check this guy out, and he seemed kosher.

'But some of us thought the way Halligen changed mobile phone every day out of an obsession with secrecy smacked of Walter Mitty.

'Now he's looking like some sort of fraudster. It's obviously massively upsetting.

'The bottom line is that there's still a little girl missing, the parents are desperate and they want to use the donated money to employ the best available people to find her.'

'Fleeced': £300,000 of public money donated to Kate and Gerry McCann's fund to find Madeleine was paid to security consultant Kevin Halligen

Embarrassingly, the hefty payout to Halligen - who was initially due to be paid £500,000 for his work - came after the McCanns became disenchanted with Spanish detective agency Metodo 3, another private investigations outfit which promised more than it could deliver.

Halligen came into contact with the McCanns 18 months ago, a year after their daughter disappeared from their holiday villa in Praia da Luz on the Algarve.

He claimed his firm, Oakley International, would be able to provide an undercover surveillance and intelligence gathering service in Portugal, and also provide satellite images of the area involved and records of telephone calls made on the night Madeleine disappeared.

Halligen subcontracted much of the work to other firms, and some of it was carried out to the McCanns' satisfaction.

But later it emerged that he had not been paying the sub-contractors - and was instead allegedly lavishing the cash on first-class flights, luxury hotels and chauffeur-driven cars for himself.

He was never paid the final £200,000 he had requested. The McCanns severed contact with him a year ago.

But Halligen's name has now emerged because of his apparent flight from claims that he defrauded Dutch firm Trafigura of £1million after it hired him to help secure the release of two executives arrested in the Ivory Coast.

When suspicions arose that he had spent the money from Trafigura on a luxury house, official inquiries began.

A host of allegations were made against him in The Sunday Times yesterday. He worked in electronics but suggested to colleagues, that he had worked for MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the CIA.

He allegedly boasted that he had extensive 'operational experience in Northern Ireland and the Middle East' and had close links with secret services and special forces.

Last night, the McCanns' official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said money was only ever paid to Oakley International for work completed.

The first year of accounts for the Find Madeleine fund revealed donations had totalled £1.8million, and that total outgoings were £815,000.

Madeleine 'fraudster' is nicked, 25 November 2009
Madeleine 'fraudster' is nicked The Sun

Gotcha ... on-run 'swindler' Halligen in cuffs

By TOM WELLS
Published: Today (25 November 2009)


A DODGY "detective" on the run accused of swindling the Madeleine McCann fund out of £300,000 was nicked last night - thanks to The Sun.

Kevin Halligen, 50, was led from his bolthole in handcuffs after our investigators staked out a luxury Oxford hotel then tipped off cops.

The fugitive whined to police: "How did you find me?"

Alleged serial fraudster Halligen was just about to fly the coop when police swooped.

Detectives had been hunting him for months.

But it was Britain's No1 paper that finally found him.

Our team tipped off police that he and his lover were about to flee after we staked out their bolthole.

Halligen, who touts himself as a private investigator, is accused of cruelly targeting the fund launched to find missing Maddie so he could swindle it out of more than £300,000.

Last night cops who found him and his girlfriend with their bags packed were holding him over his unpaid bill at the plush Old Bank hotel in Oxford.

It was said to run into tens of thousands. But that, and the cash he is accused of taking from the Maddie fund, are the least of his worries.

Handcuffed ... Kevin Halligen  thanks to The Sun

He faces extradition to the US over an even BIGGER alleged con.

The Dubliner is wanted by the FBI for a £1.2MILLION fraud.

Halligen got involved with anguished Kate and Gerry McCann a year after the 2007 disappearance of their daughter - then aged three - on a family holiday in Portugal.

He had set up his own investigation firm Oakley International in Washington and claimed to have worked for MI5 and the CIA.

Crucially he boasted his "contacts" in the US capital could provide hi-tech satellite imagery to help the search.

Luxury hideout ... Old Bank in Oxford

He won a £500,000 contract as the McCanns, both 41-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leics, prayed for clues.

Much of the cash is said to have gone on luxury hotels, chauffeured limos and first-class flights as he lived the high life.

Last night his bill at the Oxford hotel he checked into three months ago - under the alias Richard Stratton - was said to top £14,000 in drinks ALONE.

A source there said: "Halligen had actually packed his bags and was making arrangements to leave in a cab when the cops finally turned up.

"His face turned ghostly white - he got the shock of his life."

Torment ... parents Gerry and Kate

The Sun had watched just minutes earlier as he and his lover casually smoked a cigarette on the hotel terrace before their planned exit.

We previously spotted him in the bar, where he ordered a glass of wine for an elderly guest, barking: "Stick that on my room - it's on me."

Minutes later he whispered to another guest: "Of course, I have to keep a low profile.

"I'm a former member of the secret services so I can't attract attention." Creditors are chasing him over £3million he is said to owe.

Halligen is said to have even conned an ex-director of the SAS. Major-General John Holmes, a former SAS commander, introduced him to business contacts - now said to be counting the cost.

He claimed: "We were all taken in."

Another alleged victim is Henri Exton - former national head of police undercover operations. He is said to be owed £100,000.

Washington lobbyist Andre Hollis claims to have lost £50,000 and top London lawyer Mark Aspinall is said - along with his company - to be owed £450,000.

Staff at the Oxford hotel told how Halligen loved to regale them with "hush-hush" talk about MI5, MI6 and the CIA.

The source said: "We just thought he was a bit of an eccentric."

 Maddie 'fraudster' nicked, 25 November 2009
Maddie 'fraudster' nicked The Sun (paper edition)

Cops hold £300k fund con suspect

Maddie 'fraudster' nicked - The Sun, 25 November 2009 (paper edition)

The Sun, 25 November 2009

Madeleine 'fraudster' held at hotel, 25 November 2009
Madeleine 'fraudster' held at hotel The Press Association

(UKPA) – 25 November 2009, 10:35AM

A businessman whose firm helped to look for Madeleine McCann has been arrested after a hotel manager recognised him as an alleged fraudster wanted by US authorities.

Kevin Halligen, 48, had been staying at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford for several months under an assumed name.

He was arrested there on Tuesday following a discrepancy over his hotel bill.

The hotel manager had seen a newspaper report last weekend concerning the alleged fraud and realised the man pictured alongside the article was his customer. Halligen was taken into custody in the city, where he remains.

The US Department of Justice had issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, earlier this month, alleging he tried to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million dollars (£1.2 million).

David Harris, finance director of the luxury hotel in Oxford's High Street, said: "On Tuesday, the manager of the Old Bank contacted local police concerning this man called Kevin Halligen. He was known to us as Richard Hall. He had an outstanding bill of less than £5,000. To us, he was just an ordinary, well-behaved guest until the newspapers disclosed more at the weekend."

Halligen's firm, Oakley International, was used by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry for around six months last year to look for their missing daughter.

It is understood a court hearing relating to an extradition matter could now take place.

In the indictment, the US Department of Justice alleged Halligen conned a London-based law firm. It is alleged he claimed the money was to help secure the release of two business executives from the Dutch company Trafigura, who were arrested in the Ivory Coast. Halligen is accused of using the funds for his own benefit including buying a mansion in Virginia.

Washington-based Oakley International was paid around £300,000 by backers of Madeleine McCann's parents to help look for the child after she went missing from an Algarve resort in May 2007 at the age of three. The six-month contract saw the firm hire other private detectives, set up a hotline and process information. The firm had initially been given a £500,000 contract, but the McCanns terminated the arrangement before paying any more fees.

Oxford hotel arrest man faces extradition hearing, 25 November 2009
Oxford hotel arrest man faces extradition hearing Oxford Mail

By George Gaynor
6:14pm Wednesday 25th November 2009

Oxford hotel arrest man faces extradition hearing

A BUSINESSMAN arrested at an Oxford hotel over an alleged £1.3m fraud is expected to appear in court tomorrow facing extradtion to the US.

Kevin Halligen, 48, who ran a firm that helped look for missing girl Madeleine McCann, was arrested at the Old Bank Hotel, in High Street, yesterday.

Police went to the hotel after a manager read a newspaper article about the US case and recognised a hotel guest as the wanted man.

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment against Irish national Halligen, from Surrey, earlier this month, alleging he tried to defraud a London law firm of £1.3m.

David Harris, finance director of the hotel, said: "On Tuesday, the manager of the Old Bank contacted police concerning this man called Kevin Halligen.

"He was known to us as Richard Hall. He had stayed at the hotel for several months.

"He had an outstanding bill of less than £5,000. To us, he was just an ordinary, well-behaved guest."

Officers from Thames Valley Police handed Halligen over to Scotland Yard's extradition unit this afternoon.

He is expected to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court some time tomorrow.

A spokesman for the McCann family said: "Our association with Halligen and Oakley International ended well over a year ago.

"Given that an arrest has been made, it would be inappropriate for us to comment."

Madeleine businessman faces court, 25 November 2009
Madeleine businessman faces court The Press Association

(UKPA) – 25 November 2009, 19:30PM

A businessman whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann and who is wanted in the US for an alleged £1.2 million fraud has appeared in court.

Kevin Halligen, 48, faced City of Westminster magistrates after he was arrested on an extradition warrant in Oxford.

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, earlier this month alleging that he tried to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million US dollars (£1.3 million).

They claim that he took the money as part of a deal to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast, but instead spent it on a mansion, a gift to his girlfriend, cash machine withdrawals and debit-card transactions.

He was arrested on Tuesday at a hotel in Oxford, where he has been staying for several months under an assumed name.

Following a short hearing at court on Wednesday, he was refused bail and he was remanded in custody until December 2, when the case will be heard again.

Halligen's firm, Oakley International, was used by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry for around six months last year to look for their missing daughter. The Washington-based firm was paid about £300,000 by backers of Mr and Mrs McCann to help look for the child after she went missing from an Algarve resort in May 2007 at the age of three. The six-month contract saw the firm hire other private detectives, set up a hotline and process information. The firm had initially been given a £500,000 contract but the McCanns terminated the arrangement before paying any more fees.

Melanie Cumberland, acting for the UK government, told the court she was not aware of any proceedings arising from that matter. But the court did hear that Halligen claims that he had been forced to move from his UK address into a series of hotels after press attention as a result of the arrangement with the McCanns.

The Irish national, the court heard, had been staying at a series of addresses over the last eight months in a bid to evade reporters.

Halligen was told that he could apply again for bail at the December 2 hearing and the court heard that a full extradition request was likely to be submitted by the US authorities by the end of January next year.

'Maddie rat tried to sue fund for £150k', 26 November 2009
'Maddie rat tried to sue fund for £150k' The Sun

Fraud quiz ... Kevin Halligen may be deported to US

By ANTONELLA LAZZERI and TOM WELLS
Published: Today (26 November 2009)

MADDIE McCann "fraudster" Kevin Halligen tried to SUE the FindMadeleine fund for £150,000, The Sun can reveal today.


Conniving Halligen was sacked by the charity - which had already paid him £300,000 - after bosses began to suspect he was a conman.

But he then had the nerve to threaten to sue for half as much money again, claiming he was still owed it as part of a three-phase contract. A source close to the fund said: "There were a series of letters between our solicitors and his.

"He said he was going to sue us for what he claimed he was still owed and our message was basically, 'See you in court'."

Unknown to the fund, when Dublin-born Halligen started work for it he was ALREADY wanted by America's FBI for a £1.2million fraud in the US.

Swish

Halligen - arrested in Britain this week - appeared in court in London yesterday over the US fraud and was remanded in custody. He is expected to be extradited to America later.

Halligen, 48, who also uses the name Richard, was nicked on Tuesday after The Sun traced him to a swish hotel in Oxford.

Bolthole ... items found include brochure, ringed, for next target of Halligen

He and a girlfriend had their bags packed and were preparing to leave behind a £5,000 unpaid bill at the Old Bank Hotel.

Police found a glossy brochure for another lavish hotel - which he was believed to be planning to target as his next bolthole.

Hunstrete House near Bath is set in 71 acres and rooms cost at least £135 a night. A source said: "He might not have been found there for months."

Halligen is chief executive of his own firm Red Defence International - itself a UK arm of his American company Oakley International, through which he staged the alleged US fraud.

The Maddie fund hired him after he was recommended to multi-millionaire Brian Kennedy, who has donated to the search.

A source said: "After he was hired, at first everything was good. He set up the FindMadeleine hotline and did a lot of work in phone-tracing data.

"But then he started failing to deliver on things and we realised he may not be all he seemed.

"He claimed he was an ex-secret agent and lived a James Bond lifestyle, saying he was being bugged.

"He accused the McCanns' official spokesman Clarence Mitchell of being an undercover MI6 agent sent to spy on him."

Much of the work Halligen claimed he did was actually done by other private eyes he sub-contracted - who are now owed a fortune in unpaid fees.

The source added: "When we terminated his contract he went mad and said he was going to sue us in court. We told him to take a running jump."

Family spokesman Mr Mitchell said: "We are glad this man was tracked down. It is distressing someone would seek to make money out of Madeleine."

Student journalist leads police to Madeleine McCann FBI fraud suspect hiding in Oxford hotel, 26 November 2009
Student journalist leads police to Madeleine McCann FBI fraud suspect hiding in Oxford hotel Liverpool Daily Post

Christopher Winsley

By Luke Traynor
Nov 26 2009

THIS is the Oxford University graduate who helped to snare a high-profile on-the-run alleged fraudster.

Businessman Kevin Halligen was arrested at the city's Old Bank Hotel on Tuesday, following several months evading police.

The 48-year-old was hired by Liverpool-born Kate McCann and her husband, Gerry, to find their three-year-old daughter, Maddie, who disappeared from a flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007. But, after £500,000 was pocketed by him from the Find Madeleine Fund, his contract was cancelled after he had delivered precious little to the investigation.

Yesterday, it emerged that journalism student Christopher Winsley was instrumental in finding Halligen, wanted by the FBI for an alleged £1.3m con in America.

Christopher had worked part-time at the plush Old Bank Hotel during the summer when studying at Brookes College when Halligen was almost a permanent guest, hardly ever leaving the £350-a-night-room hotel and drinking heavily in the bar.

The Dubliner used various aliases including Mr and Mrs Hall, Kev and Richard before Mr Winsley left in September to pursue a postgraduate media degree in Falmouth, Cornwall.

When he spotted several Sunday newspaper articles on Halligen last weekend, and his all-important photograph, he immediately made the connection and telephoned Thames Valley Police.

Yesterday, the student said: "I knew straight away the person I was reading in the papers, said to be wanted by police, was the man I'd seen day-in, day-out at the hotel.

"I telephoned police, and it didn't seem to be a priority for them, but they appear to have moved fast and caught up with him.

"It wasn't hard to make the link. I even sent an email to the US embassy and phoned 999 and Crimestoppers. I’m surprised he didn't do a runner with all the stuff in the newspapers."

Halligen is also said to have caused consternation in the hotel, visited this year by celebrities including Meg Ryan over unpaid bills.

Following a short hearing at court yesterday, Halligen was refused bail and was remanded in custody until December 2.

Private detectives, 28 November 2009
Private detectives Correio da Manhã

Gonçalo Amaral

Matter of Fact

Gonçalo Amaral
28 November 2009 - 00h30
Thanks to Astro for translation

In Portugal, as far as criminal investigation is concerned, the activity of private detectives is forbidden. Despite that, in a famous media-exposed case, detectives have passed through here, some British, others Spanish.

At least since the 10th of May 2007, said detectives operated in our country under the silence from our authorities. They were looking for a mysteriously disappeared English child. After two years and several months, they found nothing. Without questioning the investigation methods and their police logics, it was easy to find a scapegoat.

The Book which the author of this column wrote and edited in July 2008 would have questioned the success of the private investigations. The reports from those investigations were kept in secrecy, but bits and pieces become known. The use of communication agencies in order to influence [public opinion], cannot erase, or clean up, the disastrous work done by those illustrious detectives.

It seems that one of them even took a hefty amount, but that is something that will be investigated in England and in the United States, being certain that that investigation will not be carried out by private detectives. As far as I am concerned, I am tranquil and I trust justice, which cannot accuse me of the failure and the mistakes of others. That is something for private detectives to do.

Madeleine McCann investigator didn't listen to ANY tip-offs given to hotline - and squandered £500,000, 28 November 2009
Madeleine McCann investigator didn't listen to ANY tip-offs given to hotline - and squandered £500,000 Mail on Sunday

By DANIEL BOFFEY in WASHINGTON
Last updated at 10:18 PM on 28th November 2009


A private eye whose company was paid £500,000 from a public fund to find Madeleine McCann squandered the money on a series of bizarre schemes that had no chance of locating the missing child.

Kevin Halligen, who claimed to have experience in the British secret services, was arrested last week in an Oxford hotel after an FBI manhunt over an unrelated £1.3million fraud case in America.

His investigations company, Oakley International, was taken on in March last year by the Find Madeleine Fund and her parents Kate and Gerry McCann.

Mystery man: Kevin Halligen, the private eye whose company was employed by the McCanns, pictured with girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis in Washington, where in one month he spent more than £3,000 on dining out
Mystery man: Kevin Halligen with girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis in Washington

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal today that despite setting up a hotline for potential informants and witnesses, none of the hundreds of calls received by a call centre hired by Halligen, 48, was listened to by Oakley investigators - and Halligen also bragged to his colleagues that he had executed a series of peculiar tactics to find Madeleine.

He claimed to have hired an actor to pretend to be a 'drunken priest' who would seek confessions as he toured the bars of Praia da Luz, the resort where Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.

And he told colleagues that a family with a Madeleine lookalike daughter had been paid to set up home in a nearby resort in order to tempt out a potential kidnapper.

Meanwhile, a paper trail obtained by The Mail on Sunday shows that Halligen, a former director of a catering firm, launched an extraordinary spending spree on hotels, cigar bars, restaurants and luxury goods while he was in the pay of the Find Madeleine Fund, and in the period shortly after he was fired last summer.

Documents show that in his first two months as lead investigator in the search for Madeleine, Halligen spent £7,000 on a personal chauffeur.

A few months later, on a short trip to New York with a girlfriend, he lavished £1,600 on Salvatore Ferragamo leather goods, £5,500 on handbags, £500 on an Italian meal, £150 on a pair of designer glasses and £900 on a three-night stay at the five-star Renaissance Hotel.

And in a one-month visit to Washington, where he owned a £1.5million mansion, he spent more than £3,000 on dining out and £6,000 on a room at the US capital's Intercontinental Hotel.

He also paid out more than £50,000 on plumbing and mosaic tiling for his house in Great Falls, Virginia - a property in which he has never spent a night because of constant home-improvement work.

The revelations will dismay everyone who donated to the Find Madeleine Fund. But perhaps of most concern is the lack of attention paid to the hundreds of phone calls received by the Madeleine hotline.

Halligen and Oakley International, based in Washington, failed to listen to a single call received on the hotline set up for potential informants by Kate and Gerry McCann last year.

Johan Selle, the director of operations at iJet, the US firm that managed the Find Madeleine phone line, revealed that for a year nobody even asked his company if they could listen to any of the calls received.

Mr Selle said his operators, in Annapolis, Virginia, had answered 'hundreds of calls', but the information seemed wasted - possibly squandering valuable leads.

He said: 'We delivered Oakley a report with a summary of the calls and said if they wanted to come back they could listen to the recording, but nobody did.

'For someone with an understanding of the case it would be very easy for some to say that maybe 80 or 90 per cent of the calls were hogwash, but there may be a percentage where one would say maybe we should listen to this one or listen to that one. But our understanding is that this never took place.

'We are not sure whether Halligen provided our report to the family or to the trust or to those working with them or to the teams working after him, because no one came back to us.

'We sent the report to Oakley group and our assumption was that they were using it as a piece in the puzzle. But it appears that wasn't the case.'

The firm says it was not paid for it services by Halligen or Oakley International.

Arrested: Kevin Halligen being led away by a policeman in Oxford
Arrested: Kevin Halligen being led away by a policeman in Oxford

Two of Halligen's former colleagues in the investigation, John Taylor and Dr Richard Parton, said they became concerned early on in their working relationship with the self- styled 'super-spy'.

Dr Parton, whose company Psyintel was employed for its expertise on interview techniques, said he and his partner had been encouraged by Halligen to get involved with the high-profile case.

Halligen had also mentioned other future projects that could net them millions of pounds, although these schemes never came to fruition.

But Dr Parton said fears over Halligen's suitability for the job first arose when the private detective suddenly asked him to stop calling him Richard, the name by which they had known him for several years. He then also raised details of Halligen's extraordinary tactics to find Madeleine.

Dr Parton, who claims he was later left with an unpaid invoice for £50,000, said: 'It was very strange. I had met him years earlier and it had been Richard. Then before a meeting with some people who wanted a presentation on my techniques, I was asked to call him Kevin from then on. I thought it was odd but he was so secretive and that was just the way he was.

'Whenever we had a meeting he would also always immediately say that he needed to leave for a flight. Every time. He would always also try to get the conversation around to talking about the psychological characteristics of a sociopath.'

Dr Parton added: 'I repeatedly told him his investigators on the ground in Portugal were not doing a proper job but he insisted lots of things were going on I didn't know about.

'That is when he told me about some of his schemes, such as the drunken priest seeking confessions from people drinking in the bars of Praia da Luz and the family with a girl who looked similar to Madeleine. This family were set up, apparently, in a resort near to Praia da Luz just to sit and wait and see what happened.

'It was all such a waste of money and time.'

However, it was only later, when tape recordings of interviews undertaken in Praia da Luz were sent to Dr Parton and Mr Taylor, in Washington, that they started to fear the worst for the investigation.

Mr Taylor said: 'The quality of the interviews was terrible, very amateurish. The noise in the background was bad, the interview questions were useless and the subjects were irrelevant. I told them to stop wasting time and money on such low-key figures - homeless people and receptionists who knew nothing.'

Kevin Halligen's US identity card
Kevin Halligen's US identity card

Things came to a head after Halligen reneged on repeated promises to pay their invoice. Dr Parton said: 'I took him to one side and asked when I was due to be paid. Three days later he disappeared. He had fled to Rome with his girlfriend.'

It was then that Dr Parton and Mr Taylor started to contact others who had been hired by Oakley International. Mr Taylor added: 'He would hire lots of people to do work but only pay a few of them. Meanwhile, he was spending lots of money on his own lifestyle. It only gave the appearance that work was being done.'

They also contacted Maria Dybczak, a trade lawyer for the US Commerce Department, whom they understood to be Halligen's wife. It emerged she had agreed to go along with a fake wedding service to keep up appearances for Halligen.

Dr Parton said: 'She admitted she wasn't proud of it but she had been tricked, too. He claimed that a job he was doing with the CIA meant that he couldn't have his name on a marriage certificate.

'She was manipulated into going along with a fake wedding with an actor posing as a priest. He said they would get properly married a few weeks later, but that never happened.'

Shortly afterwards Halligen fled to Rome with a girlfriend, named in a writ filed by another former colleague as Shirin Trachiotis, a glamorous doctor based in Washington.

Almost immediately after arriving in Rome on their first-class Lufthansa tickets, Halligen withdrew hundreds of thousands of pounds more from Oakley International's bank accounts and spent £8,000 on a luxury hotel before slinking back to the UK a few months later.

Dr Parton said: 'He has left a trail of debts across America and the UK. But the horrible truth is that he stole from the McCanns what they really couldn't afford - time.'

Following a short hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court last week, Halligen was refused bail and was remanded in custody until December 2, when the next stage of his case for extradition will be heard.

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, earlier this month alleging that he tried to defraud a London law firm.

They claim he took £1.3million as part of a deal to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast. Instead, it is claimed, he spent it on a mansion, a gift to his girlfriend, cash machine withdrawals and debit-card transactions.

Kate and Gerry McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell refused to be drawn on the details of Oakley's investigation, much of which, it is understood, the McCanns were unaware of. He said: 'The first phase of the contract was satisfactorily seen through, such as the setting up of the hotline. Towards the end of it there were question marks about delivery and the relationship was terminated.

'Given Mr Halligen is in custody it is inappropriate to comment further.'

Bail plea from Madeleine McCann businessman wanted in America, 02 December 2009
Bail plea from Madeleine McCann businessman wanted in America Evening Standard

02.12.2009

A businessman whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann and who is wanted in the US for an alleged £1.3 million fraud will appear in court today.

Kevin Halligen, 48, will be allowed to apply for bail when he faces City of Westminster magistrates following his arrest on an extradition warrant in Oxford.

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, last month alleging that he tried to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million US dollars (£1.3 million).

They claim he took the money as part of a deal to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast, but instead spent it on a mansion, a gift to his girlfriend, cash machine withdrawals and debit-card transactions.

He was arrested at a hotel in Oxford on November 24 where he had been staying for several months under an assumed name.

Halligen's firm, Oakley International, was used by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry for around six months last year to look for their missing daughter.

The Washington-based firm was paid about £300,000 by backers of Mr and Mrs McCann to help look for the child after she went missing from an Algarve resort in May 2007 at the age of three.

The six-month contract saw the firm hire other private detectives, set up a hotline and process information. The firm had initially been given a £500,000 contract but the McCanns terminated the arrangement before paying any more fees.

The Irish national, who is being held in custody, had been staying at a series of addresses over the last eight months in a bid to evade reporters, the court heard during his first appearance.

At the hearing last month, Melanie Cumberland, acting for the UK Government, said Halligen was wanted in the US for taking money from the Dutch company Trafigura, via a London-based law firm, and failing to send it as agreed on the release of their employees.

She said he had been employed after the pair were arrested following a petro-chemical spill on the Ivory Coast. Instead, she said, he spent 1.7 million dollars (about £1 million) on a mansion, 141,000 dollars (£84,000) in a gift to his girlfriend and more than 43,000 dollars (£26,000) in cash on other items.

When he was arrested at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford over a discrepancy in a bill of just more than £5,000, police discovered he had already packed his bag in readiness to leave, she said.



Madeleine hunter remanded teletext

02 December 2009

A businessman arrested in Oxford whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann has been remanded in custody after the US launched extradition proceedings over an alleged £1.3m fraud.

Kevin Halligen, 48, was due to apply for bail at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court but did not attend.

He was remanded in custody in his absence until January 27.



Madeleine McCann hunter Kevin Halligen remanded over fraud case Metro

The man whose firm helped look for Madeleine was remanded in custody after the US launched extradition proceedings over an alleged £1.3 million fraud.

- 2nd December, 2009

Kevin Halligen, 48, was due to apply for bail at a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, in London, but did not attend and was not represented by a lawyer.

District Judge Caroline Tubbs remanded Halligen in custody and adjourned the case until January 27.

"Mr Halligen is remanded in custody in his absence," she said.

Melanie Cumberland, acting for the US Government, said Halligen was wanted in connection with a "wire fraud and money laundering".

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, from Surrey, last month, alleging he tried to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million US dollars (£1.3 million).

It claimed he took the money as part of a deal to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast but instead spent it on a mansion, a gift to his girlfriend, debit card transaction and cash machine withdrawals.

The Irish national was arrested at a hotel in Oxford on November 24 where he had been staying for several months under an assumed name.

Halligen's firm, Oakley International, was used by Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, for around six months last year to look for their missing daughter.

The Washington-based firm was paid about £300,000 by backers of Mr and Mrs McCann to help in the search for Madeleine, who went missing from an Algarve resort in May 2007 at the age of three.

Oxford graduate gets 'sack' for shopping Madeleine McCann fraud suspect, 02 December 2009
Oxford graduate gets 'sack' for shopping Madeleine McCann fraud suspect Liverpool Echo

By Luke Traynor
Dec 2 2009


A TOP hotel reneged on a job promise for an Oxford graduate after he shopped the £1.3m Maddie McCann fraud suspect who was staying as a guest, it was claimed today.

Journalism student Chris Winsley telephoned police after recognising pictures of Kevin Halligen in newspaper articles, linking him to a man staying for over six months at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford.

Officers visited the A-list pad and detained the fugitive Dubliner, wanted by the FBI for an alleged £1.3m con in America, based on the 22-year-old's memory of Halligen when Mr Winsley was working as a barman at the hotel over the summer.

The on-the-run private detective was once hired by Liverpool-born Kate McCann and her husband, Gerry, to find their three-year-old daughter, Maddie, who disappeared from a flat in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

But after £500,000 was pocketed by him from the Find Madeleine Fund, his contract was cancelled after he had delivered precious little to the investigation.

Now Mr Winsley has received the bombshell that an assured job at the Old Bank Hotel over Christmas has been axed.

The Cornwall student has emailed and written to hotel bosses who have refused to return his correspondence.

Today, the budding writer said he was disappointed his former employers had "punished him" for bringing a fugitive man to the attention of police.

Mr Winsley told the ECHO: "I feel hard done by. I did it to get this man caught, but now they won't give me the time of day.

"I had a letter from the manager saying they'd be delighted to employ me over Christmas, and now silence."

An extradition hearing is set to take place to send Halligen back into the custody of American police.

While staying at the Old Bank the businessman used several aliases and would spend most of his evenings getting drunk in the bar, witnesses said.

Halligen is also said to have caused consternation in the hotel, visited this year by top celebrities, over unpaid bills.

The Old Bank Hotel refused to comment.

Student shops man with links to Madeleine McCann case, 04 December 2009
Student shops man with links to Madeleine McCann case Hertfordshire Mercury

By Catherine Lofthouse
04 December 2009

A STUDENT journalist who grew up in Datchworth was instrumental in helping police arrest a high-profile suspect wanted for a $2.1m fraud in the USA.

Chris Winsley

Chris Winsley, 22, who attended Heathmount near Watton-at-Stone and Haileybury in Hertford Heath, could not believe his eyes when he spotted the picture of Kevin Halligen, wanted by the FBI for fraud, in the Sunday papers.

Halligen, who was paid £500,000 to help find Madeleine McCann, was yesterday due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court under an extradition warrant.

It was while working as a barman at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford while studying at Oxford Brookes University that Chris came across Mr Halligen, who was a guest at the hotel under an assumed name.

Chris said: "He was a very flash man and always really drunk. He'd been staying in the hotel for ages. There was always something a little bit shady about him, because he was changing his job title every day and sometimes used another name. But we thought he was a crazy drunk guy who thought he was something he wasn't."

Chris left his job at the hotel in September to start a postgraduate course in multi-media and broadcast journalism in Falmouth, but had been back since to visit former colleagues and had seen Mr Halligen was still living there.

So when he spotted the suspect's pictures in the Sunday papers a week and a half ago, he knew exactly where he could be found.

After reporting his location to Crimestoppers and the US Embassy and getting little response, Chris contacted The Sun and Halligen was eventually arrested.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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