A look at the backgrounds of some of the people the McCanns have chosen to do business with, such as Carter-Ruck,
Kevin Halligen and Bell Pottinger, using money donated by the public to find Madeleine.
More items will be
added in due course...
Hanover, case studies: McCann Family
Hanover, case studies: McCann Family hanover
We helped the McCann family deal with the media storm which surrounded them on their return from Portugal
in September 2007. From scratch, we created a comprehensive media handling package within six hours which enabled us to handle
850 media calls in the first week. By giving journalists positive stories to report, coverage turned from hostility to the
McCanns to sympathy about their ordeal. This campaign won the crisis communication category at the 2008 CIPR awards.
McCanns hire Hanover for PR in face of media onslaught
by David Quainton, PR Week Worldwire
LONDON - PRWeek can exclusively reveal that Hanover, the agency owned by John
Major's former press secretary Charles Lewington, has been hired by Kate and Gerry McCann.
couple, in a surprise move, have turned to the agency that also works with Nationwide Building Society, NHS Cancer Screening
and mobile company 3.
Lewington, managing director of Hanover, said: "At the moment we're providing temporary
press office facilities for the McCanns. Justine (McGuinness) has been overwhelmed by the press interest.
is very fast moving and our position could change by Monday or Tuesday, depending on what lawyers tell us over the weekend.
"The McCanns have been treated extremely badly by the press, it's only right to help them out."
The McCanns are fighting to clear their name as allegations and suspicion rises concerning the disappearance of their missing
The McCanns previously used Bell Pottinger crisis management consultant Alex Woolfall (who
represented holiday firm Mark Warner), Sheree Dodd, a former spokeswoman for the Government, and former treasury special advisor
With prejudice Guardian
Monday September 17, 2007
Hanover PR, run by John Major's former press secretary Charles Lewington, was taking calls over
the weekend, but stressed it was not working for the McCanns permanently.
Hanover Calls Time
On McCanns PR Week
21 November 2007, 10:57am
has stopped working with the McCann family.
The agency said the move 'reflects a decrease in international
press interest' following the six-month anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance.
by MD Charles Lewington, was hired to run a UK press office two months ago (20 September 2007).
All media enquiries
are now going through the family's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, a former BBC journalist.
Mitchell was temporarily
appointed spokesman to the McCanns by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in May (PRWeek, 24 May 2007). Sheree Dodd and Justine
McGuiness have also worked temporarily in the position.
Mitchell later quit his government position to lead the
McCanns' comms on a permanent basis.
Mitchell said: 'Without the support of Hanover we simply would not
have been able to cope with the level of international press interest.'
Come back now Daily Star (no longer available online)
By Jerry Lawton
06 December 2007
- Extract -
The McCanns have axed
the London-based public relations firm that has been representing them since they jetted back to Britain after being named
Media specialists Hanover had been handling more than 100 calls a day at the start, but now interview
requests had dwindled to two.
They charged the Find Madeleine fund £30,000 for their two months of service
- around a third their normal rate.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell will now handle all the couple's
A spokesman for Hanover said: "We have passed the management of the press office to Clarence
"This reflects a decrease in international press interest."
Mr Mitchell said: "We
are hugely grateful to Hanover. Without the support of their team we would not have been able to cope with the level of international
Madeleine McCann fund running short of cash Telegraph
By Nick Britten
Published: 6:38PM GMT 09 Jan 2008
They recently spent £80,000 on a poster campaign in Spain and still owe Hanover International,
a public relations company, money for work they did until November, when their involvement ended.
Lawyer of the Week, 08 April 2008
By Linda Tsang
April 8, 2008
Adam Tudor, a partner at Carter-Ruck, represents the parents
of Madeleine McCann. After stories in the Daily Express and the Daily Star and their Sunday stablemates,
the newspapers have made unprecedented front-page apologies to the McCanns for falsely suggesting that the couple caused the
death of their daughter and covered it up. The papers will pay £550,000 to the Madeleine fund.
were the main challenges and the possible implications?
The main challenge was logistical — the
sheer size of the task of complaining about more than 100 articles. The implications, I hope, include the media resolving
to adopt a more responsible approach to this kind of reporting. Most importantly, I hope that this outcome will remind the
world that at the heart of the press hysteria and distortion lies a normal, loving family who simply want to find their daughter.
What was your worst day as a lawyer?
As a trainee, arranging for an entire High Court
trial to go to a video-conferencing suite one morning to hear a witness give evidence from Washington. When the cameras were
turned on at our end, the office at the other end was in darkness. The witness had gone to another building on the other side
of the city.
What was your most memorable experience as a lawyer?
Naturally it would
be pretty hard to top Mr and Mrs McCann's victory against Express Group. That aside, there's nothing quite like a
libel trial and the tension of a jury verdict. My most memorable was probably when I acted for a local councillor against
a tycoon who kept towing banners about her behind his aircraft. The trial went on for a fortnight, my client won very substantial
damages and my wife gave birth to our daughter a few hours later.
Who has been the most influential person
in your life and why?
I have a wonderful and preternaturally tolerant wife, and two children who keep
me very much on my toes. Professionally, I was very lucky to have worked with some superb litigators at Herbert Smith, and
at Carter-Ruck I am surrounded by people who are among the leaders in our field.
What would your advice
be to anyone wanting a career in law?
Work hard at school and be polite to your parents.
If you had not become a lawyer, what would you have chosen?
The police — not a fashionable answer
but although they often (and on occasion deservedly) get a bad press, they serve a crucial role in the community and in society.
Sometimes I think I'd like to have been a black cab driver (sociable, be your own boss, own a pad in Spain, etc), then
it's pointed out that I have the worst sense of direction in London.
Where do you see yourself in ten
Watching Wales win their 15th Grand Slam with my father and son (and wife and daughter if they
fancy it), then nipping over to Barcelona to watch Cardiff City win the Champions League.
How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster, 16
How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster Guardian
• Trafigura offers payout to 31,000 victims of toxic dumping
• Secret email trail
exposes truth behind £100m legal battle
• Read emails here (PDF)
Wednesday 16 September 2009 15.08 BST
|Trafigura chartered the Probo Koala to take the waste to Africa. Photograph: Raigo Pajula/AFP
The British oil trader Trafigura has offered to pay out in a historic damages
claim from 31,000 Africans injured by the dumping of toxic waste in one of the worst pollution disasters
in recent history, the Guardian can reveal.An email from Ahmed the previous day to the head of gasoline
trading spelled out: "US/Singapore and European terminals no longer allow the use of caustic soda washes since local
environmental agencies do not allow disposal of the toxic caustic after treatment."
The compensation deal for the victims of toxic
oil waste dumping in west Africa – likely to be confirmed imminently – means the full extent of attempts to cover
up what really happened can be spelled out for the first time.
The truth is laid bare in
Trafigura's hitherto secret documents, published bt the Guardian today.
The company's internal emails show the true nature of the toxic waste dumped around Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast. Trafigura had publicly claimed the waste was harmless.
The exposure of the company
files has contributed to Trafigura's climbdown after three years of bitterly contested legal battles. We are publishing
them online today.
Martyn Day is a senior partner at the British law firm Leigh Day, which
has brought one of the biggest group actions in legal history, seeking damages of £100m. He said today in Abidjan, where
he has been negotiating the settlement: "The claimants are very pleased."
in the process of putting a global deal to the victims, he said. "The sum being discussed is based on the range of short-term
symptoms claimed by our clients."
Thousands of west Africans besieged local hospitals,
and a number died, in 2006 after the dumping of hundreds of tons of highly toxic oil waste around Abidjan.
Official local autopsy reports on 12 alleged victims showed fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide,
one of the waste's lethal byproducts.
The traders have been publicly insisting for three
years that their waste was routine and harmless. They claim it was "absolutely not dangerous".
They have until now denied the compensation claims, and their lawyers repeatedly threatened anyone worldwide
who sought to contradict their version. They launched a libel case against BBC Newsnight, forced a "correction"
from the Times, demanded the Guardian deleted articles, and yesterday tried to gag journalists in the Netherlands and Norway
with legal threats.
But dozens of damning internal Trafigura emails have now come to light.
They reveal how London-based company employers were told in advance that their planned chemical operation, a cheap and dirty
process called "caustic washing", generated such dangerous wastes it was widely outlawed.
Claude Dauphin, the managing director, was told by the London manager, Naeem Ahmed, on 28 December 2005: "Caustic washes
are banned by most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste (mercaptans, phenols, smell) … there are not
many facilities remaining in the market. There is a company in Rotterdam that burns such waste in a high stack chimney and
charges are approximately $200/kg."
of such toxic waste across EU borders was outlawed, he told his bosses. It was illegal to dump it on any EU landfill.
The London-based traders pressed on regardless, the documents reveal. They hoped to make profits of $7m a time
by buying up what they called "bloody cheap" cargoes of sulphur-contaminated Mexican gasoline.
They decided to try and process the fuel on board a tanker anchored offshore, creating toxic waste they called
One trader wrote, on 10 March 2006: "I don't know how we dispose
of the slops and I don't imply we would dump them, but for sure, there must be some way to pay someone to take them."
The resulting black, stinking, slurry was eventually dumped around landfills in Abidjan, after
Trafigura paid an unqualified local man to take it away in tanker trucks at a cheap rate.
libel lawyers, Carter-Ruck, recently demanded the Guardian deleted published articles, saying it was "gravely defamatory"
and "untrue" to say Trafigura's waste had been dumped cheaply and could have caused deaths and serious injuries.
Both the Dutch paper Volkskrant and Norwegian TV said they were yesterday also threatened with gagging actions.
Trafigura launched a libel action against BBC Newsnight, complaining Trafigura had been wrongly accused of
causing deaths, disfigurement and miscarriages, and had "suffered serious damage to their reputation".
The BBC filed a fighting defence this week, accusing Trafigura of knowing its chemicals were "highly toxic,
potentially lethal and posed a serious risk to public health". The BBC also alleges a cover-up, saying Trafigura's
denials "lack credibility and candour".
Newsnight plans to transmit another programme
on the subject on BBC2 tonight.
The UN human rights special rapporteur Professor Okechukwu
Ibeanu criticised Trafigura for potentially "stifling independent reporting and public criticism" in a report the
oil traders tried and failed to prevent being published in Geneva this week.
The report said
Ibeanu "views with great concern reports that the company has filed or threatened to file lawsuits against various civil
society and media institutions that have reported … in a critical manner".
wrote: "According to official estimates, there were 15 deaths, 69 persons hospitalised and more than 108,000 medical
consultations … there seems to be strong prima facie evidence that the reported deaths and adverse health consequences
are related to the dumping."
The report is written in cautious terms, but Trafigura's
lobbyists, Bell Pottinger, responded by claiming to be "appalled", saying it was "premature", "inaccurate",
"potentially damaging", "poorly researched", and "deeply flawed".
Yesterday Greenpeace, which has been investigating the issue, along with Amnesty, launched a legal action in Amsterdam calling
for the oil firm to be prosecuted there for homicide or grievous bodily harm. It said: "This intentional pollution …
has caused many people to suffer serious injuries and has even led to death."
said it "utterly rejected" claims of a cover-up. "Every statement that has been made … has been made
in good faith."
The traders said the autopsy reports were unreliable, and that hydrogen
sulphide in the waste was only there in "potential" form. It has never actually been released. They said the emails
contained "crude and distasteful" language, but had been taken "out of context" and should "not be
They repeated denials that the slops could have caused death or serious
injury, and were highly toxic. They denied lying about the composition of the slops.
says it is the world's third-biggest private oil trader, and declared a $440m profit last year. Its 200 traders are reported
to receive annual bonuses of up to $1m each.
Inside Trafigura: Accusations,
sour deals and friends in high places Guardian
Wednesday 16 September 2009 22.44 BST
Asked about this history, Bell Pottinger, the firm founded by Tim Bell, and which acts as Trafigura's spin doctors,
told us: "Trafigura has always done its business in an ethical and transparent manner."
sues BBC for libel Carter-Ruck Press Release
15 May 2009
Trafigura Limited, a
member of Trafigura Group, the leading commodities trader, has today issued proceedings
for libel against the BBC in the High Court in London.
The action relates to a broadcast on the Newsnight programme on 13 May 2009 and three
related stories on the BBC website, concerning the Probo Koala,
a Trafigura-chartered vessel which discharged slops in Côte d’Ivoire in August
Speaking today, a Trafigura spokesman
"Trafigura has today brought
libel proceedings against the BBC over itsNewsnight broadcast. This decision was not taken
Trafigura has always accepted that the Probo
Koala 'incident' is a matter of public
and has never objected to the media reporting on it responsibly. However, the BBC's
one-sided reports on 13 May were wildly inaccurate and libellous, leaving us with no choice
but to take legal action. There was no justification or public interest in the BBC misleading
its viewers in this way.
Trafigura has always denied that the slops caused the
deaths and serious health consequences presented by the BBC – a position fully supported
by independent expert evidence which will be presented to the Court in due course. As the
BBC is well aware, these matters are already the subject of a personal injury action currently taking place in London. It is deeply regrettable that the BBC felt it appropriate
to prejudge those proceedings in this sensationalist and inaccurate
Please direct any queries to:
Tel: 020 7353 5005
Neil Cameron, Bell Pottinger
Tel: 020 7861 2497
Kevin Halligen and the Trafigura connection
Kevin Halligen apparently cost Madeleine's Fund £100,000 pm + expenses
'The McCann Files' by Mark Hollingsworth (see below for complete article which has now been removed online):
'After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International Ltd as an international security and political
risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries.
He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when
hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste
was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense
to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon business jet was rented for several months during the operation
and it was Halligen's first taste of the good life. The case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government
of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.'
Kevin Halligen's involvement with the McCanns that drained
Madeleine's Fund of £500,000
McCanns hire crack team of ex-FBI agents to find Madeleine, 13 August 2008
McCanns hire crack team of ex-FBI agents to find Madeleine Daily Mail
By NIALL FIRTH
Last updated at 12:25 PM on 13th August
Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a team of crack U.S detectives to lead the hunt for their missing
daughter Madeleine, it has emerged.
The unnamed US firm is said to have been offered a £500,000 six-month
contract by the Find Madeleine Fun to help spearhead the search.
A friend of the McCanns said: 'The hunt for
Madeleine is becoming more and more international and it was felt that a truly international firm was now needed to lead the
"These really are the big boys. They are absolutely the best, but they are extremely secretive and
cloak-and-dagger about what they do.
'Since their appointment, Metodo has very much taken a back seat and they
are now concentrating primarily in Portugal and Spain and across the Straits of Gibraltar into north Africa, where they have
their main contacts.
'The American agency is pretty much handling everything else.'
firm is said to employ ex-FBI, CIA and U.S special forces, according to the Daily Mirror.
The McCanns' spokesman
Clarence Mitchell, said: 'Kate and Gerry made it clear from the outset they would leave no stone unturned in finding Madeleine
and that means employing the very best people in any given field.
'It is correct that an international firm
of investigators have been appointed.
'But I am unable to say anything at all about them because of the covert
nature of their work and the need for secrecy, not only in looking for Madeleine, but also in relation to previous operations.'
The McCanns now have detectives working around the world at a reported cost of £166,000 a month.
the possible sightings they are following up, apparently ignored by Portuguese police, is one by a British yachtsman on the
Caribbean island of Margarita last May.
The appointment of the U.S firm comes after it was revealed that a suspected
sighting of Madeleine in Brussels was ruled out by police.
A blonde girl had been seen with a woman in a hijab
at the KBC bank in the Belgium capital and the McCanns had been treating the sighting as a priority.
hopes were dashed when a man came forward and confirmed that the girl was his daughter out with her nanny.
Secret A-Team in hunt for Maddie, 14 August 2008
Secret A-Team in hunt for Maddie Daily Star (no longer available online)
14th August 2008
Desperate Kate and Gerry McCann have forked out £500,000 on an "A-Team" of
former top spooks to find missing daughter Madeleine.
The couple now have "a
global operation" of dozens of retired FBI, CIA and even MI5 agents dedicated to solving the mystery of her disappearance.
The top secret team has been given six months to solve the riddle.
Doctors Kate and Gerry, both 40, have vowed to keep up the search for five-year-old Madeleine after the latest sighting
at a Belgian bank was ruled out.
And the couple, from Rothley, Leics, have been reassured
their new team of private eyes will follow up every lead around the world.
Clarence Mitchell said: "There is a global operation working for Kate and Gerry.
are internationally-based with components in Britain, America, Europe and other countries where sightings have been made."
The new team, appointed three months ago, is half way through a six-month contract.
Mr Mitchell explained: "A sum of £500,000 has been committed to them from the Find
"They have been on board for a few months and are on a six-month contract.
"For security reasons we can't go into detail of the experts involved but it would
not be wrong to say some are former military and police personnel with a degree of expertise."
Last night Mr Mitchell revealed there had been several more sightings of Madeleine in Belgium on top of 30 reported in the
He said: "A number of these sightings have been well-meaning and have been
looked at but ruled out.
"Kate and Gerry are not getting excited or upset by the reported
A family source added: "Unfortunately, with all the publicity, there
have been some copycat sightings which police are not taking at all seriously."
couple's Spanish-based detective agency Metodo 3 are still working on an £8,000-a-month retainer.
They are being kept on because of their local knowledge and contacts.
explained: "Spain, Portugal and North Africa still remain the most likely places where Madeleine could be.
"However, with recent sightings in Amsterdam and Brussels, we have the power to have investigators out
on the ground immediately."
Madeleine fund in chaos as private eyes are axed after draining £500,000, 23
Madeleine fund in chaos as private eyes are axed after draining £500,000 Daily Mail (no longer available online)
By DANIEL BOFFEY and MILES GOSLETT
Last updated at 10:14 PM on 23rd August 2008
A team of private
investigators working behind the scenes to find Madeleine McCann has been axed after being paid £500,000 from publicly
The Find Madeleine Fund quietly engaged the services of a US-based
company which was awarded the lucrative six-month contract earlier this year.
Oakley International, which boasts former British security service and FBI contacts, was hired to monitor the Madeleine Hotline,
carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of possible sightings of the missing girl around the world.
A source revealed that the company had also spent resources in an attempt to infiltrate a paedophile ring in
However, the company's contract will now not be renewed. The Mail on Sunday
has learned that double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy, who has been underwriting the fund's search for Madeleine, has conducted
a review of the agency's work and has become unhappy with the progress it was making.
deal was abruptly ended following a meeting last week after the fund brought in independent monitors to assess how the money
The cost of employing the agency - run by a Briton, Kevin Halligen - has drained
the Madeleine fund and there is now less than £500,000 left.
The development is likely
to dismay the thousands who gave to the appeal, and raise questions about how the fund has been administered.
Mr Kennedy, who owns Sale Sharks rugby club, was said to be 'angry' because he believed Oakley's
bills, estimated to be more than £80,000 a month, were too much for the results they achieved.
A source said: 'There is a sense that they were meaning well but hadn't got as far as they should for the money
'Brian Kennedy thought their work was far too pricey and wanted to know where
the money was being spent. He wasn't satisfied with their answers and the contract was not renewed.
'Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, have been kept informed all along and agree with the decision.
A lot of people were asking questions about where the money was being spent.'
International won the contract after an introduction by another company, Red Defence International (RDI), based in Jermyn
Street, Central London.
Listed as being involved with both companies was Mr Halligen, 47,
a communications expert. He is given as the 'contact name' for Oakley International Group, a company registered in
Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment.
The company says it
has annual sales of £33,000 and only one employee, who appears to be Mr Halligen.
address given for the company is 2550 M Street NW Washington, which is the downtown office of Patton Boggs, one of the largest
and most powerful law companies in America.
A source at the law firm said last night that
the lawyer who represented Mr Halligen was unavailable for comment.
RDI, formed in 2005,
bills itself as 'an experienced provider of crisis prevention, management and expertise'. It claims to have a presence
in Washington DC and Virginia and representation in the Middle East, Africa and Central America.
However, its latest set of accounts is two months overdue and it faces being fined by HM Revenue & Customs.
Among the main players working on the McCann contract were Mr Halligen and Henri Exton, 57, who headed the
Greater Manchester Police undercover unit until 1993. He then worked for the Government before moving into the private sector.
One day after a crisis meeting last week with the Madeleine fund administrators, Mr Halligen
resigned as a director of RDI.
Mr Exton, of Bury, Lancashire, has the Queen’s Police
Medal and an OBE. During the Seventies and Eighties his work included uncovering organised crime rings and recruiting supergrasses.
He also infiltrated football gangs, at one stage becoming a leader of the Young Guvnors, who
followed Manchester City, and was forced to take part in organised incidents to preserve his cover.
Previously, the McCann fund had employed a Spanish detective agency called Metodo 3. However, the fund lost confidence in
them, especially after they announced they would find Madeleine by last Christmas.
disappeared from the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, nine days short of her fourth birthday.
A spokesman for the McCanns said yesterday: 'Kate and Gerry, the fund and their backers have always sought
to employ the very best people and resources in the ongoing search for Madeleine.
and Gerry, via the fund and the backers, continue to employ many such resources and it is true that Red Defence and Oakley
were part of those resources.
'I simply will not comment on any personnel, financial
or operational details whatsoever.'
No one could be reached for comment at Oakley International
or Red Defence International.
Mr Kennedy, estimated to be worth about £250million,
became involved after being moved by the plight of the McCanns during the period they were made formal suspects – arguidos
– in Madeleine's disappearance. Portuguese prosecutors dropped the couple's arguido status last month.
The 47-year-old made his money in double-glazing and home improvement ventures with companies including Everest
windows. His Latium Group business empire has an annual turnover of about £400million.
Madeleine McCann: Investigators axed after being paid £500,000, 24 August 2008
Madeleine McCann: Investigators axed after being paid £500,000 Telegraph (no longer available online)
A firm of private investigators hired
to hunt for Madeleine McCann have been dropped after being paid £500,000.
By Subhajit Banerjee
Last Updated: 10:46AM BST 24 Aug 2008
team had been given a six-month contract earlier this year and were paid from money donated to the Find Madeleine Fund.
Their contract will not be renewed after double-glazing tycoon Brian Kennedy - who is underwriting the fund's
search - became unhappy with the progress it was making.
Oakley International, which boasts former British security
service and FBI contacts, was hired to monitor the Madeleine Hotline, carry out detective work and review CCTV footage of
possible Madeleine sightings.
Mr Kennedy reportedly believes the agency's bills - estimated to be over £80,000
a month - were not justified by their results, the Mail on Sunday reports.
Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate
McCann have been kept informed all along and agree with the decision.
Oakley International Group, a company registered
in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation equipment, is run by Briton Kevin Halligen.
McCann had disappeared from the resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, nine days short of her fourth birthday.
A spokesman for the McCanns refused to comment on 'personnel, financial or operational details'.
Madeleine McCann: Investigators
dropped after being paid £500,000 Telegraph (no longer available online)A firm of private investigators
hired to hunt for Madeleine McCann are being dropped after being paid £500,000.
By Richard Edwards and Subhajit Banerjee
Updated: 2:30PM BST 24 Aug 2008
The US-based team, which boasts former British security
service and FBI contacts, had been given a six-month contract earlier this year and were paid from the Find Madeleine Fund.
It is understood their contract will not be renewed at the end of the month in a review led by double-glazing tycoon
Brian Kennedy - who is underwriting the fund's search.
Oakley International was hired discreetly just before
the anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May. It monitored a Madeleine Hotline number,
followed up leads and reviewed CCTV footage of possible sightings.
Mr Kennedy reportedly believes the agency's
bills - estimated to be over £80,000 a month - were not justified by their results.
Most of the money spent
on the agency came from a £550,000 libel pay out from Express Newspapers in March. Around £450,000 remains in
Several private investigators have been used to track down the missing girl, including Metedo3, a Spanish
agency. The fund lost confidence in them, especially after they announced they would find Madeleine by last Christmas, and
the agency is now used only sparingly.
Oakley International won the contract after an introduction by another company,
Red Defence International (RDI), based in Jermyn Street, central London.
A spokesman for the McCanns said: "Kate
and Gerry, the fund and their backers have continually sought to employ the best people in the search for Madeleine. Red Defence
and Oakley International were part of a large number of resources employed in recent months.
is continuing for the immediate future and will be reviewed when it ends, as you would expect. We will not be comment on the
detail of any personnel, financial or operational arrangements."
Lawyers and investigators for the McCanns
are still combing through the police files released in Portugal earlier this month after Mr and Mrs McCann were released from
their status as official suspects or "arguidos". They are looking for leads they fear police ignored after focusing
the investigation on the McCanns.
"The search is very much ongoing," said the spokesman, "and there
is certainly no crisis in the fund."
Madeleine detectives' axing
denied, 29 August 2008
Madeleine detectives' axing denied
Portugal News online
30/08/2008 (First appeared online 29/08/2008)
Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of missing toddler
Madeleine McCann have denied they have decided to axe private investigators Oakley International following allegations the
company has drained the McCann’s fund of nearly half a million pounds.
Reports on Sunday claimed they were supported in doing so by Madeleine Fund underwriter Brian Kennedy, a self-made
millionaire, who was also said to be dissatisfied with the investigators' work.
It was said he considered their approximate £100,000-per-month fee "excessive" for the results
that were being obtained.
This has since been refuted.
A written entry on the official 'Find Madeleine'
website said, "In the light of articles in some UK Sunday newspapers this weekend, we feel it is appropriate to comment
briefly on our relationship with the investigation company Oakley International.
"We appointed them several months ago to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. We continue
to work with them to this end. The working relationship is managed by Brian Kennedy, who also confirms the relationship with
Oakley International continues to be good and that it remains entirely focused on the search for Madeleine".
Oakley International, which is made up of ex-British special forces
officers and has FBI contacts, won the contract over the London-based Red Defence International (RDI), though one of the employees,
47-year-old communications expert known as Mr. Halligen, is listed as being involved with both companies.
Weekend reports in the UK claim Halligen is given as the 'contact
name' for Oakley International Group, a company registered in Washington DC as the manufacturer of search and navigation
equipment, and is also, reportedly, a director of RDI.
company says it has annual sales of around €45,000
and only one employee, which appears to be Mr Halligen.
Initial reports alleged that the day after a crisis meeting last week with the Madeleine Fund administrators, Mr Halligen
resigned as a director of RDI.
Previously the McCann
Fund had employed a Spanish detective agency called Metodo 3, who were also axed after claims they would 'find Madeleine
before Christmas' failed.
A McCann spokesperson
said yesterday, "Kate and Gerry, the fund and their backers have always sought to employ the very best people and resources
in the ongoing search for Madeleine".
that is, according to the McCanns, still continuing.
Red Defence in Red Zone, 09 October 2008
Red Defence in Red Zone Intelligence Online
Fired abruptly by the Find Madeline Fund which has sought
to find Madeline McCann, Red Defence International also wrangled in the past with Trafigura.
An affiliate of Red
Defence International, a firm headed by Britain's Kevin Halligen, the investigative concern Oakley International Group
was hired in March, 2008 to help find Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old British child who vanished in May, 2007 from a
hotel on the Portuguese coast.
In late August, the Find Madeline Fund, which bankrolls the search for the child,
suddenly cut all links with Oakley International, officially for "inadequate results."
the first time that companies owned by Halligen, who took part in MI 5 operations in Northern Ireland, have encountered problems
with their customers.
In September, 2006, Red Defence was retained by the Trafigura trading group after two of
its senior executives, Claude Dauphin and Jean-Pierre Valentini, were arrested and clapped behind bars in Ivory Coast. A month
previously, the Probo Koala, a ship chartered by Trafigura, had discharged toxic waste in dumps in the port of Abidjan.
Red Defence, whose contact with Trafigura was lawyer Marc Aspinall, pulled out all the stops to secure the release
of Dauphin and Valentini. Through the firm WatchWood, Red Defence leased a Falcon business jet from the South African group
Aerotrade, headed by Fred Rutte, and kept it on stand-by for months, at great expense.
Red Defence additionally
approached a private British security concern Oceans Five run by John Nash to ask that it provide commandos to mount an operation
to rescue Dauphin and Valentini from Maca prison in Abidjan.
The operation, initially planned for mid-January,
2007, was put back on several occasions. Trafigura, which was negotiating simultaneously with the Ivory Coast authorities
for the release of its executives, was worried about the constant postponements and the prohibitive cost of the operation.
It finally cut all ties with Red Defence in February, 2007. Shortly afterwards, Dauphin and Valentini were released
after the payment of USD 198 million that was destined to cover the cost of a clean-up of waste from Probo Koala.
Subsequently, Trafigura's lawyer, Aspinall, demanded that sub-contractors hired by Red Defence reimburse some of the
money paid to them , threatening legal proceedings.
Following that setback, Halligen moved to the United
States and founded Oakley Security Services, whose initials OSS evoked those of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner
of the CIA. He re-named the firm Oakley International Group and teamed up with the lobbying concern Patton Boggs run by Thomas
The McCann files, 29 August 2009
The McCann files ES magazine (London Evening Standard - paper edition only)
(Note: This article has already been removed from the online version of ES
magazine and replaced by the message: 'Content has been suppressed for editorial and/or legal reasons')
By Mark Hollingsworth
Issue: Friday 28 August 2009
Disillusioned with the Portuguese police, Gerry and Kate McCann turned to private detectives to find their
missing daughter. Instead the efforts of the private eyes served only to scare off witnesses, waste funds and raise false
hopes. Mark Hollingsworth investigates the investigators.
It was billed as a 'significant development' in the exhaustive search for Madeleine McCann. At a recent dramatic
press conference in London, the lead private investigator David Edgar, a retired Cheshire detective inspector, brandished
an E-FIT image of an Australian woman, described her as 'a bit of a Victoria Beckham lookalike', and appealed for
help in tracing her. The woman was seen 'looking agitated' outside a restaurant in Barcelona three days after Madeleine's
disappearance. 'It is a strong lead', said Edgar, wearing a pin-stripe suit in front of a bank of cameras and microphones.
'Madeleine could have been in Barcelona by that point. The fact the conversation took place near the marina could be significant.'
But within days reporters discovered that the private detectives had failed to make the most basic enquiries before
announcing their potential breakthrough. Members of Edgar’s team who visited Barcelona had failed to speak to anyone
working at the restaurant near where the agitated woman was seen that night, neglected to ask if the mystery woman had been
filmed on CCTV cameras and knew nothing about the arrival of an Australian luxury yacht just after Madeleine vanished.
The apparent flaws in this latest development were another salutary lesson for Kate and Gerry McCann, who have relied
on private investigators after the Portuguese police spent more time falsely suspecting the parents than searching for their
daughter. For their relations with private detectives have been frustrating, unhappy and controversial ever since their daughter's
disappearance in May 2007.
The search has been overseen by the millionaire business Brian Kennedy, 49, who set
up Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, which aimed 'to procure that Madeleine's abduction is thoroughly
investigated'. A straight-talking, tough, burly self-made entrepreneur and rugby fanatic, he grew up in a council flat
near Tynecastle in Scotland and was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. He started his working life as a window cleaner
and by 2007 had acquired a £350 million fortune from double-glazing and home-improvement ventures. Kennedy was outraged
by the police insinuations against the McCanns and, though a stranger, worked tirelessly on their behalf. 'His motivation
was sincere,' said someone who worked closely with him. 'He was appalled by the Portuguese police, but he also had
visions of flying in by helicopter to rescue Madeleine.'
Kennedy commissioned private detectives to conduct
an investigation parallel to the one run by the Portuguese police. But his choice showed how dangerous it is when powerful
and wealthy businessmen try to play detective. In September 2007, he hired Metodo 3, an agency based in Barcelona, on a six-month
contract and paid it an estimated £50,000 a month. Metodo 3 was hired because of Spain's 'language and cultural
connection' with Portugal. 'If we'd had big-booted Brits or, heaven forbid, Americans, we would have had doors
slammed in our faces' said Clarence Mitchell, spokesperson for the McCann's at the time. 'And it's quite likely
that we could have been charged with hindering the investigation as technically it's illegal in Portugal to undertake
a secondary investigation.'
The agency had 35 investigators working on the case in Britain, France, Spain,
Portugal and Morocco. A hotline was set up for the public to report sightings and suspicions, and the search focussed on Morocco.
But the investigation was dogged by over-confidence and braggadocio. 'We know who took Madeleine and hope she will be
home by Christmas,' boasted Metodo 3's flamboyant boss Francisco Marco. But no Madeleine materialised and their contract
was not renewed.
Until now, few details have emerged about the private investigation during those crucial early
months, but an investigation by ES shows that key mistakes were made, which in turn made later enquiries far more challenging.
ES has spoken to several sources close to the private investigations that took place in the first year and discovered
* The involvement of Brian Kennedy and his son Patrick in the operation was counter-productive,
notably when they were questioned by the local police for acting suspiciously while attempting a 24-hour 'stake out'.By April 2008, nearing
the first anniversary of the disappearance, Kennedy and the McCanns were desperate. And so when Henri Exton, a former undercover
police officer who worked on M15 operations, and Kevin Halligen, a smooth-talking Irishman who claimed to have worked for
covert British government intelligence agency GCHQ, walked through the door, their timing was perfect. Their sales pitch was
classic James Bond spook-talk: everything had to be 'top secret' and 'on a need to know basis'. The operation
would involve 24-hour alert systems, undercover units, satellite imagery and round-the-clock surveillance teams that would
fly in at short notice. This sounded very exiting but, as one source close to the investigation told ES, it was also very
expensive and ultimately unsuccessful. 'The real job at hand was old-fashioned, tedious, forensic police work rather than
these boy's own, glory boy antics,' he said.
* The relationship between Metodo 3 and the Portuguese police had completely broken down.
* Key witnesses
were questioned far too aggressively, so much so that some of them later refused to talk to the police
* Many of
the investigators had little experience of the required painstaking forensic detective work.
But Kennedy was impressed by the license-to-spy presentation
and Exton and Halligen were hire for a fee of £100,000 per month plus expenses. Ostensibly, the contract was with Halligen's
UK security company, Red Defence International Ltd, and an office was set up in Jermyn Street, in St James's. Only a tiny
group of employees did the painstaking investigative work of dealing with thousands of emails and phone calls. Instead, resources
were channelled into undercover operations in paedophile rings and among gypsies throughout Europe, encouraged by Kennedy.
A five-man surveillance team was dispatched in Portugal, overseen by the experienced Exton, for six weeks.
in Belgium in 1951, Exton had been a highly effective undercover officer for the Manchester police. A maverick and dynamic
figure, he successfully infiltrated gangs of football hooligans in the 1980's. While not popular among his colleagues,
in 1991 he was seconded to work on MI5 undercover operations against drug dealers, gangsters and terrorists, and was later
awarded the Queen's Police Medal for 'outstanding bravery'. By all accounts, the charismatic Exton was a dedicated
officer. But in November 2002, the stress appeared to have overcome his judgement when he was arrested for shoplifting.
While working on an MI5 surveillance, Exton was caught leaving a tax-free shopping area at Manchester airport with
a bottle of perfume he had not paid for. The police were called and he was given the option of the offence being dealt with
under caution or to face prosecution. He chose a police caution and so in effect admitted his guilt. Exton was sacked, but
was furious about the way he had been treated and threatened to sue MI5. He later set up his own consulting company and moved
to Bury in Lancashire.
While Exton, however flawed, was the genuine article as an investigator, Halligen was a
very different character. Born in Dublin in 1961, he has been described as a 'Walter Mitty figure'. He used false
names to collect prospective clients at airports in order to preserve secrecy, and he called himself 'Kevin' or 'Richard'
or 'Patrick' at different times to describe himself to business contacts. There appears to be no reason for all this
subterfuge except that he thought this was what agents did. A conspiracy theorist and lover of the secret world, he is obsessed
by surveillance gadgets and even installed a covert camera to spy on his own employees. He claimed to have worked for GCHQ,
but in fact he was employed by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) as head of defence systems in the rather less glamorous field
of new information technology, researching the use of 'special batteries'. He told former colleagues and potential
girlfriends that he used to work for MI5, MI6 and the CIA. He also claimed that he was nearly kidnapped by the IRA, was involved
in the first Gulf War and had been a freefall parachutist.
Very little of this is true. What is true is that Halligen
has a degree in electronics, worked on the fringes of the intelligence community while at AEA and does understand government
communications. He could also be an astonishingly persuasive, engaging and charming individual. Strikingly self-confident
and articulate, he could be generous and clubbable. 'He was very good company but only when it suited him,' says one
friend. 'He kept people in compartments.'
After leaving the AEA, Halligen set up Red Defence International
Ltd as an international security and political risk company, advising clients on the risks involved in investing and doing
business in unstable, war-torn and corrupt countries. He worked closely with political risk companies and was a persuasive
advocate of IT security. In 2006, he struck gold when hired by Trafigura, the Dutch commodities trading company. Executives
were imprisoned in the Ivory Coast after toxic waste was dumped in landfills near its biggest city Abidjan. Trafigura was
blamed and hired Red Defence International at vast expense to help with the negotiations to release its executives. A Falcon
business jet was rented for several months during the operation and it was Halligen's first taste of the good life. The
case only ended when Trafigura paid $197 million to the government of the Ivory Coast to secure the release of the prisoners.
Halligen made a fortune from Trafigura and was suddenly flying everywhere first-class, staying at the Lansborough
and Stafford hotels in London and The Willard hotel in Washington DC for months at a time. In 2007 he set up Oakley International
Group and registered at the offices of the prestigious law firm Patton Boggs, in Washington DC, as an international security
company. He was now strutting the stage as a self-proclaimed international spy expert and joined the Special Forces Club in
Knightsbridge, where he met Exton.
During the Madeleine investigation, Halligen spent vast amounts of time in the
HeyJo bar in the basement of the Abracadabra Club near his Jermyn Street office. Armed with a clutch of unregistered mobile
phones and a Blackberry, the bar was in effect his office. 'He was there virtually the whole day,' a former colleague
told ES. 'He had an amazing tolerance for alcohol and a prodigious memory and so occasionally he would have amazing bursts
of intelligence, lucidity and insights. They were very rare but they did happen.'
When not imbibing in St James's,
Halligen was in the United States, trying to drum up investors for Oakley International. On 15 August 2008, at the height
of the McCann investigation crisis, he persuaded Andre Hollis, a former US Drug enforcement agency official, to write out
an $80,000 cheque to Oakley in return for a ten per cent share-holding. The money was then transferred into the private accounts
of Halligen and his girlfriend Shirin Trachiotis to finance a holiday in Italy, according to Hollis. In a $6 million lawsuit
filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, Hollis alleges that Halligen 'received monies for Oakley's services rendered and
deposited the same into his personal accounts' and 'repeatedly and systematically depleted funds from Oakley's
bank accounts for inappropriate personal expenses'.
Hollis was not the only victim. Mark Aspinall, a respected
lawyer who worked closely with Halligen, invested £500,000 in Oakley and lost the lot. Earlier this year he filed a
lawsuit in Washington DC against Halligen claiming $1.4 million in damages. The finances of Oakley International are in chaos
and numerous employees, specialist consultants and contractors have not been paid. Some of them now face financial ruin.
Meanwhile, Exton was running the surveillance teams in Portugal and often paying his operatives upfront, so would
occasionally be out-of-pocket because Halligen had not transferred funds. Exton genuinely believed that progress was being
made and substantial and credible reports on child trafficking were submitted. But by mid-August 2008, Kennedy and Gerry McCann
were increasingly concerned by an absence of details of how the money was being spent. At one meeting, Halligen was asked
how many men constituted a surveillance team and he produced a piece of paper on which he wrote 'between one and ten'.
But he then refused to say how many were working and how much they were being paid.
While Kennedy and Gerry McCann
accepted that the mission was extremely difficult and some secrecy was necessary, Halligen was charging very high rates and
expenses. And eyebrows were raised when all the money was paid to Oakley International, solely owned and managed by Halligen.
One invoice, seen by ES, shows that for 'accrued expenses to May 5, 2008' (just one month into the contract), Oakley
charged $74,155. The 'point of contact' was Halligen who provided a UK mobile telephone number.
was ready to accept Halligen at face value, Gerry McCann – sharp, focused and intelligent – was more sceptical.
The contract with Oakley International and Halligen was terminated by the end of September 2008, after £500,000-plus
expenses had been spent.
For the McCanns it was a bitter experience, Exton has returned to Cheshire and, like so
many people, is owed money by Halligen. As for Halligen, he has gone into hiding, leaving a trail of debt and numerous former
business associates and creditors looking for him. He was last seen in January of this year in Rome, drinking and spending
prodigiously at the Hilton Cavalieri and Excelsior hotels. He is now believed by private investigators, who have been searching
for him to serve papers on behalf of creditors, to be in the UK and watching his back. Meanwhile, in the eye of the storm,
the McCanns continue the search for their lost daughter.
Oakley International Group's web presence,
19 September 2009
Also of interest...
Government unveils libel law reforms,
15 March 2011
Government unveils libel law reforms The Guardian
Bill introduces 'public interest' defence, aims to end 'libel tourism' and signals end to use of juries
in most libel trials
Tuesday 15 March 2011 14.25 GMT
The government on Tuesday unveiled sweeping changes to the libel
laws aimed at protecting freedom of speech and bringing an end to so-called "libel tourism" from abroad.
Ken Clarke, the justice secretary, published a draft bill that includes a new "public interest" defence which
can be used by defendants in defamation cases and a requirement that claimants can demonstrate substantial harm before they
The bill will also signal an end to the use of juries in libel trials apart from in exceptional circumstances,
and aims to end libel tourism by making it tougher to bring overseas claims which have little connection to the UK in the
Clarke, unveiling the draft bill on Tuesday alongside minister of state for justice Lord McNally,
said the bill would "ensure that anyone who makes a statement of fact or expresses an honest opinion can do so with confidence".
"The right to speak freely and debate issues without fear of censure is a vital cornerstone of a democratic society,"
"In recent years, though, the increased threat of costly libel actions has begun to have a chilling
effect on scientific and academic debate and investigative journalism."
The bill includes a new statutory
defence of truth which will replace the current common law defence of justification. It also includes a statutory defence
of honest opinion replacing the current common law defence of fair and honest comment.
In a bid to stamp out libel
tourism, a court will not accept jurisdiction unless satisfied that England and Wales is "clearly" the most appropriate
place to bring the action against someone who does not live in the UK or an EU member state.
The bill will also
remove the presumption in favour of jury trial as part of a series of measures to cut costs and speed up court cases.
The government has also begun a consultation on issues not covered by the draft bill, including responsibility for publication
on the internet.
It will ask whether the law should be changed to give greater protection to secondary publishers
such as internet service providers and discussion forms.
Clarke said the changes to the libel law proposed in the
bill were a result of "public concern brought to a head by attempts [by big corporations] to stifle scientific and academic
debate ... Freedom of speech is absolutely essential in a democracy like our own."
McNally added: "We
have been trying to get the balance right between proper protections and the oft-used accusation that the law as it operates
now creates a chilling effect on free speech and on information right across the board, from academic and scientific work
to proper investigative journalism.
"Media organisations are no longer the giants that they once were and
they too can be intimidated by very large corporations threatening to take excessive action against them for what would be
justifiable criticism. If that is the case it needs to be looked at."
The Libel Reform Campaign welcomed the
draft bill but said the government needed to go further in key areas, including a stronger public interest defence and an
end of the ability of corporations to sue for libel, a change resisted by the justice secretary today.
Dr Evan Harris said: "Those campaigning for libel reform will want to see cross-party recognition that the draft bill
is a welcome step forward, but also that it does not yet reflect the extent of full libel reform that is required to properly
protect free expression."
Libel reform: government's proposals The Guardian
Read the draft defamation bill and consultation in full
Tuesday 15 March
2011 12.48 GMT