Madeleine “private detective” arrested by British police

By LIZ GRIFFITHS [email protected]

British newspapers have reported that a security consultant who was employed by the Madeleine Fund to help with the investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance was arrested on Tuesday at a hotel in Oxford, England, after an alleged discrepancy over an unpaid hotel bill.

Kevin Halligen is also said to be wanted in the US after being charged with fraud in a separate case.

According to The Times and The Sun, Kevin Halligen booked into the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford with a girlfriend under the alias Richard Stratton and had stayed there for three months. It was reported that he was allegedly about to leave the hotel in a taxi when police arrived and arrested him.

The FBI have also been searching for Kevin Halligen, who is from Surrey, for allegedly conning a law firm out of 2.1 million pounds sterling fees.

The Madeleine Fund, which is funded by public donations, employed Kevin Halligen’s firm, Oakley International, on a six-month contract in 2008 to carry out detective work and survey CCTV footage with the hope of finding the young girl, who disappeared from the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007.

After the contract ended they were dropped from the case, allegedly because of lack of progress.

The public’s donations for the Madeleine Fund reached two million pounds sterling in the months following Madeleine’s disappearance.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCann family spokesman, was reported as saying: “Due diligence was carried out before Oakley were employed on behalf of the Madeleine fund. Money was paid for work satisfactorily carried out in the early months but questions were raised later on and the contract was terminated. The matter is considered closed.”

Clarence Mitchell was contacted for a comment but had not responded by the time the Algarve Resident went to press on Wednesday.