McCann consultant in pounds 1.3m fraud row

23 November 2009 
The Daily Telegraph 
Alastair Jamieson

A security consultant whose company was allegedly paid pounds 300,000 from publicly donated funds to help find Madeleine McCann has been charged with an unrelated pounds 1.3 million fraud.  Kevin Halligen, 48, from Surrey, is wanted in America for allegedly conning a law firm out of $2.1 million in fees which he spent on himself. The Washington-based businessman, who styled himself as a security expert with FBI and MI5 connections, has not been arrested because officials in America do not know where he is.

Mr Halligen's firm, Oakley International, was given a six-month contract by the Madeleine Fund in 2008 to carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of possible sightings of the missing girl, but was dropped after six months because of alleged lack of progress. Thousands of Britons donated money to the fund, which topped pounds 2 million in the months after the toddler disappeared from a holiday flat in Portugal in May 2007. Some of the money was spent on private detectives, including pounds 300,000 given to Oakley.

The US Department of Justice said Mr Halligen had been charged in his absence earlier this month, accused of "wire fraud and money laundering''. Court papers allege that he took pounds 1.3million from a London-based law firm, claiming he could help secure the release of two executives from the Dutch company Trafigura imprisoned in the Ivory Coast in 2007.

Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for Mr and Mrs McCann, said: "Due diligence was carried out before Oakley were employed on behalf of the Madeleine fund.''

Return to top of page Copyright © 2010 | Flash News Converted into Blogger Template by HackTutors