Businessman awaits Home Secretary's decision on extradition

4 November 2010
Press Association
Paula Fentiman

A businessman whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann and who is wanted in the US over an alleged £1.3 million fraud was told today that the Home Secretary will decide whether he will be extradited.

The case of Irish national Kevin Halligen, 48, was referred to Theresa May following a hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London, a court spokesman said.

Halligen, who was remanded in custody, is accused by prosecutors in America of attempting to defraud a London law firm of 2.1 million dollars (£1.32 million).

His 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 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 £300,000 for its services by the McCanns.

A Home Office spokesman said the request for Halligen's extradition was issued on November 25 last year by the US government.

The Home Secretary now has two months in which to make a decision.

Halligen has been remanded in custody.

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