'Agent' conned McCanns

22 November 2009 
The Sunday Times 

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, 50, 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 acted 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, based in Washington DC, was paid £500,000 after being hired by the Find Madeleine fund. Sources say he offered to provide the McCanns with satellite images and lists of telephone traffic on the night Madeleine disappeared. One said: "All he came up with was a Google Earth image."

Documents show that while Halligen's firm was receiving the fund's cash, he was withdrawing large amounts of money 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.

Two years ago Halligen allegedly faked his own wedding to a lawyer in Washington. He 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 investigation has found he bought a £1m mansion with money allegedly defrauded from Trafigura, the firm accused of dumping toxic waste in Africa. Last week the US Department of Justice issued an indictment seeking his arrest.

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