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Original Source: STAR: SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER 2009
25th October 2009 By Scott Hesketh

ABOVE: A drug baron claims Maddie was stolen to order.”

MADDIE McCann was a “mail-order kid” snatched by a scarfaced North African crime lord, acc-ording to explosive new claims revealed today.

Police are now hunting an Algerian mafia boss who allegedly bragged to British associates in Portugal just weeks after the child’s disappearance.

He told them he had snatched Madeleine in a £100,000 “steal-to- order” kidnap plot.

And the Daily Star Sunday can reveal that police are set to quiz two jailed British gangsters believed to have heard his shock claims.

After a tip-off from underworld sources, detectives want to quiz Liverpool drug baron Paul Bennett, 45 – behind bars for perverting justice after going on the run for eight years in the Algarve.

They are also keen to talk to James Neil, 40, a business partner of Bennett and an associate of caged Notts drug baron Colin Gunn.

Both men and our source – who is also a top-level gangster – were running a lucrative entertainment protection racket in Portugal.

A shadowy Algerian, who went by the names Younis and Tariq and was staying in Albufeira, allegedly tried to muscle in with his Moroccan-based mob.

Our source, who was based just 15 minutes from the Praia da Luz resort from where two-year-old Maddie was abducted in May 2007, said: “This fella heard what Bennett was doing and wanted a slice.

“He was a nasty piece of work – a heavy-hitter drug dealer who also talked about mail-order kids.

“The kids were nicked to order – snatched and delivered to wealthy people for big cash payouts.

“Bennett and Jamie thought they could negotiate with this guy but he was just looking at them thinking that they were a couple of big, roast chickens and he was going to gobble the lot up.

“In one meeting, before Maddie vanished, the Algerian said he’d taken kids from other parts of Europe and sold them on to rich families in Morocco.

“After Maddie was gone, we had another business meeting and he just came right out with it and said he and his team had done Maddie.

“The Algerian said Maddie had been taken away by ferry and joked about mail-order kids again.

“I don’t think he was bothered whether she was sold to paedophiles or just a family.


“He was only interested in the money. It was around 100 grand.”

The Algerian – black, with cropped hair and facial scars – is “known to police in Portugal”.

Last night a police spokesman in Leicestershire where the McCanns live, said: “We have no comment to make

Read as well:

Gangster Paul Bennett freed after eight years on the run across Europe

A NOTORIOUS Liverpool gangster was freed from a Portuguese prison after fighting extradition back to the UK. Fugitive Paul Bennett was arrested in June on the Algarve after eight years on the run. But today the 42-year-old from Anfield was a free man after time ran out and Portuguese officials had to let him go.

Bennett was wanted by detectives who suspected him of being involved in a con which led to him and associate John Haase being given a royal pardon in 1996.

He fled the UK in 1999 after police uncovered a cannabis farm in Manchester.

After his arrest at Faro airport he fought the Metropolitan police’s attempts to bring him home. His extradition case and subsequent appeal was heard by both the Supreme and Constitutional courts in Portugal.

But before a decision was reached on the second appeal the time limit for keeping Bennett in custody expired and under Portuguese law he was set free. The ruling is seen as a massive blow for the Met who have already charged 58-year-old Haase, originally from Everton, with perverting the course of justice.

Bennett was released from prison in Beja but few in Liverpool’s underworld expect him to come back to Merseyside. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Paul Bennett was released from detention when his custody time limit expired.

“He had appealed against his extradition and under Portuguese law the authorities had no alternative but to let him go free when that time limit was up.”

Bennett and Haase were originally arrested in 1993 by customs officers investigating a massive heroin trafficking plot. The following January they were registered as official informers by HM Customs. It led to two “massive” weapons seizures, including 150 firearms and explosives, being made on Merseyside.

After pleading guilty in June 1995 to heroin distribution they were sentenced to 18 years in jail.

But 11 months later they were granted a royal pardon by then home secretary Michael Howard on the advice of officials convinced their “cooperation” over the weapons find was genuine.

Haase is one of seven people awaiting trial over allegations he and his criminal contacts planted the weapons.

in Liverpool Echo, 29.11.07  
Liverpool Echo, 29.11.07


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