McCann search businessman in court

22 July 2010
Bray People
Halligen's firm had been employed by the McCanns to look for Madeleine
An Irish businessman whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann and who is wanted in the US over an alleged 1.6 million euro fraud is due to face an extradition hearing.

Irish national Kevin Halligen, 48, is accused by prosecutors in America of attempting to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million dollars (1.64 million euro)

The businessman's firm Oakley International had been employed by Kate and Gerry McCann for around six months in 2008 to look for their missing daughter.

In all the Washington-based firm was paid around 357,000 euro for its services by the McCanns.

The defendant's assets were frozen after his arrest on November 24.

Officers acting on a request from US law enforcement agencies detained Halligen after finding him in a hotel in Oxford where he had been staying under an assumed name.

The alleged crimes for which he is wanted in the US relate to money taken from a Dutch company, Trafigura, as part of a deal to secure the release of executives under arrest in the Ivory Coast.

Instead it was spent on, among other things, a mansion and a gift to his girlfriend, it is alleged.

The extradition hearing will take place at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court.

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