Madeleine search aide 'failed to pay investigators'

23 November 2009
Daily Post
Liza Williams
Businessman wanted in US for fraud

A businessman hired to find Madeleine McCann has allegedly kept up to £300,000 meant to pay investigators. It was reported yesterday that British security consultant, Kevin Halligen, 50, allegedly failed to pass the money on to private detectives who did the work for him. £500,000 was paid to his firm, Oakley International, by the Find Madeleine fund. Sources close to Halligen claim he offered to provide satellite photos from the night Madeleine - whose mother, Kate, is from Mossley Hill - vanished to the family, but failed to do so.

He is now reportedly wanted in the USA after an alleged £1.3m fraud. However, he has not been arrested because authorities do not know where he is. The Madeleine fund hired Oakley international in 2007, but £100,000 was withheld after the firm allegedly failed to carry out agreed work, and the contract was not renewed in October last year.

Private investigators, including Henri Exton, a former national head of undercover operations for the British police, found it harder and harder to get their fees from Halligen. Mr Exton says he is owed more than £100,000 for work he did on the Madeleine case.


It is claimed documents show that, while the firm was receiving the fund's cash, Halligen was spending large amounts for his personal use. This included first-class flights, expensive hotels and chauffeur-driven cars, it is alleged. The businessman, who has offices in Washington, left the city for a holiday in Rome but did not come back to the company base.

According to witnesses, he was last seen staying in a Bath hotel under a false name. Friends say Halligen often tried to impress contacts by pretending to have served in the intelligence services.

It has also been reported that in 2007 he allegedly carried out a false wedding to a lawyer in Washington. It was watched by former agents, a CIA station chief and an adviser to Barack Obama. Halligen told his new wife that his bosses would not allow his real name to be on wedding documents. But the businessman was already married and the priest was an actor.

The American financial investigation has uncovered Halligen bought a £1m mansion with money allegedly defrauded from Trafigura, the company accused of dumping toxic waste in Africa. The money was supposed to be used to help free two men imprisoned in Africa. Last week, the US Department of Justice issued an indictment seeking his arrest over the alleged 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 to help find Madeleine."

A spokesman for the Fund confirmed it had hired Halligen and said it terminated his contract when suspicions were raised.

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