By MIKE ALMOND AND CECÍLIA PIRES
ROBERT MURAT, the first official suspect in the case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has not been contacted by any officials concerning the removal of his arguido status.
According to his lawyer Francisco Pagarete, nobody from the investigation has contacted Robert Murat about possible changes to his status.
“I think it is a strange situation if that happens”, he told The Resident, adding that if what some newspapers are saying is true, his “client will be very happy”.
Mr Pagarete explained that in some circumstances what happens is that the arguido status is altered to the witness status, to protect the secrecy of justice, although he doesn’t believe this might happen with its client.
Reports that Robert Murat’s situation would be changed surfaced at the weekend when the Portuguese language weekly newspaper Sol revealed he was going to be informally “told that he wouldn’t have to face any charges” in the case.
According to Sol, Robert Murat would continue as suspect only to protect the investigation and that the situation was to be explained to him by officials from the investigation.
Francisco Pagarete told The Resident that he considered this information strange, adding: “I don’t see police inspectors using their time with those kind of procedures.”
However, he added, “if that happens and if we are to be called to the police because of that, we will go.”
Meanwhile, The Resident can reveal that the apartment at Praia da Luz used by the McCann family was occupied by other people for four weeks in June and July.
It had been closed on police orders following Madeleine’s disappearance until the middle of June and then released to the owners.
It is understood that owners themselves stayed there for two weeks and some of their friends for another two weeks. It was eventually closed again at the end of July and remains so under police order at the present time.
On Tuesday this week, the McCann family refused to confirm reports that they have hired a private security firm to help in the search for Madeleine.
However, official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry have always made it clear they would leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine.”
Several newspapers had said Control Risks Group had been employed by the family soon after the young girl disappeared in May. CRG was formed in the 1970s to help free kidnapped businessmen.
It employs many former special forces personnel as well as ex-police and secret service members and has a former SAS commander on its board.
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