McCann fund hired 'spy' conman

22 November 2009
The Sunday Times

A businessman who pretended to be a secret agent has allegedly pocketed up to £300,000 (¤333,250) from funds intended to pay investigators working to find Madeleine McCann. Kevin Halligen, a Dublin born security consultant, was paid £500,000 by the Find Madeleine fund but allegedly failed to pass it on to private eyes who worked for him. A friend of Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents, said: "He acted as if he were a James Bond-style spy. He promised the earth but it came to nothing."

Halligen's company Oakley International, which is based in Washington DC, offered to provide satellite images and lists of telephone traffic on the night Madeleine disappeared.  The data were supposed to come from contacts in Washington but, one source claimed, "all he came up with was a Google Earth image".

The Madeleine fund was provided with further reports from teams of investigators who found it increasingly difficult to get their fees from Halligen. One is owed £100,000. Documents show that while Halligen's firm was receiving the cash, he was withdrawing large amounts for his personal use. Halligen's contract with the fund was not renewed last October. He has now vanished.

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