Justice minister says police relationship is still strong

UPDATED 16.15 HOURS ON 02.10.07


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PORTUGAL’S JUSTICE Minister has stepped in to assure all parties that the relationship between the Portuguese and British police forces working on the Madeleine McCann case is still strong and of “beneficial co-operation”.

Alberto Costa was responding today (Tuesday) to comments made by Gonçalo Amaral, the leading investigator in the Madeleine case, and published in today’s Portuguese daily Diário de Notícias (DN), in which he criticized British police action.

Alberto Costa said: “It is important that all teams are focused on the investigation work and not on the comments.” He refused to make any further comments on the PJ coordinator’s statements.

Gonçalo Amaral had accused British police of “only investigating information previously prepared by Gerry and Kate McCann”.

In the interview in DN, he is quoted as saying that “the British police have been working exclusively on the information wanted by the McCanns and that suits them better.”

The police investigator was commenting on reports in British media on Monday about an anonymous email sent to the official website of Prince Charles.

The email accused a former employee of the Ocean Club of being responsible for the abduction of Madeleine McCann in a revenge action to destroy the resort’s credibility.

The PJ investigator said this information “had no credibility for the Portuguese police” and therefore “it was completely excluded” from the investigation.

“An email, specially an anonymous one, is not going to distract us from the line of the investigation,” he said.

Gonçalo Amaral also claimed that by following the couple’s tips, the British investigators were continuously “forgetting the fact that they are prime suspects of their daughter’s death”.

He said that the kidnapping scenario now being explored was nothing more than “another fact worked by the McCanns”.

He added that as the Ocean Club is located in Praia da Luz and not in London, “all information related with the resort and its staff has been or is being investigated by the Polícia Judiciária”.