Kevin Halligen whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann

Nov 25, 2009
P.A. National Newswire

Kevin Halligen, whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann and who is wanted in the US over an alleged £1.3 million fraud, appeared in court tonight after being arrested on an extradition warrant. Thames Valley Police said in a statement: "We arrested a 48-year-old man yesterday morning at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford. It was a discrepancy over his hotel bill." He is being held in custody in the city, and it is understood a court hearing relating to an extradition matter could take place later today.

Earlier this month the US Department of Justice issued an indictment for Halligen, who is from Surrey, alleging he conned a London-based law firm out of 2.1m dollars. 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. The six-month contract saw the firm hire other private detectives, set up a hotline and process information, but was not renewed. 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."

The Sun said Halligen was arrested in connection with an unpaid hotel bill running into tens of thousands of pounds. He was pictured in the paper wearing handcuffs after being detained by police in Oxford. Halligen's US firm was initially given a £500,000 contract to help find Madeleine, who was three when she disappeared. But only around £300,000 was paid before the McCann family terminated the arrangement. Mr and Mrs McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, continue to appeal for information about what happened to their daughter.

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