Un ténébreux fait-divers des années 2000 à Praia da Luz et ce qui s'ensuivit. Comment la disparition singulière d'une petite fille (Our Maddie), portée par une houle médiatique déferlante, devint l'effervescent 'McCann Case', alimenté comme un grand fauve insatiable. En quoi la liberté d'expression s'y trouva en danger, ce que l'on peut en apprendre sur la nature humaine et comment rien n'est plus contraire à la sagesse qu'un excès d'habileté. Nil sapientiæ odiosius acumine nimio (Sénèque/Poe)
Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées. Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)
Narrator: In 2007,
three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing whilst on holiday with
her parents in Portugal.
Gerry McCann (from
archive footage): Whilst it's heartbreaking to return to the UK
without Madeleine, it does not mean we’re giving up our search for
Narrator: The case
touched the heart of the nation and the public dug into their pockets
to help find Madeleine. A year after her disappearance, a security
consultant was hired to solve the case.
Harry Winter: The
gentleman was the Jack Bauer of our time; the actual Jack Bauer.
Narrator: But he turned
out to be one of the biggest conmen in history.
James R Conner III: I've
been working fraud for almost 20 years in the FBI. I’ve never met
anybody who has fooled as many distinguished, capable, educated
people. He's a very good conman.
Narrator: Tonight he
comes out of the shadows for the very first time.
Halligen: Some would say
“Well, why not just put a 9mm in the back of his head?”
Narrator: This is the
story of what happened when a fake spy took on the biggest missing
child case in history.
John Taylor: He had a
wife; he had girlfriends; he had limousines, fancy rooms in the best
Narrator: It's a tail of
bugging, surveillance, undercover operations and your missing money.
Halligen: The money - all
of it - is fully accountable.
Narrator: Almost a year
after Madeleine McCann's disappearance, her parents, Kate and Gerry,
had a secret meeting with the man who said he could help find their
missing child. With the Portuguese police focusing on them as
suspects Kate and Gerry were desperate to find someone to search for
Madeleine. They placed their hope in Kevin Halligen, a security
specialist with extra ordinary global connections. Halligen’s
London business partner, Major Tim Craig-Harvey, would become a
member of the investigation team.
Tim Craig-Harvey: It's
not a contract that was entered into lightly by any stretch of the
imagination, and there were others in the industry who had turned
down the opportunity. Whilst we may be able to find out what
happened, actually finding Madeleine McCann, which was clearly the
main aim of any investigation, is going to be difficult.
Narrator: These people
didn't come cheap but the McCann's had access to the “Find
Madeleine” fund with a million pounds of donations raised by the
public. Publicly the McCanns attended a remembrance service for their
daughter but behind the scenes Halligen’s six-month contract had
been signed off. On top of his $1,000,000 fee, he was promised up to
half a million dollars if Madeleine was found alive.
Tim Craig-Harvey: The
McCanns were having the most horrific time. Kate McCann in particular
looked absolutely battered by the events of the last year. As a
parent I cannot imagine the horror and the grief that they must have
gone through. And to have been accused of killing their own daughter
- that's pretty grim. Gerry was very good at putting a brave face on
it, but they wanted results.
Narrator: Halligen was
warned that the fees that had been agreed to could wipe out the fund,
but Kate and Gerry had been given every reason to have faith. Kevin
Halligen came with an impressive CV.
Tim Craig-Harvey: Kevin
went out to Iraq a couple of times. It was real sort of boys own
stuff: getting out amongst there with the bad guys; looking over
your shoulder; dodging behind blown up walls. He'd come back and say
“I've been in Baghdad. It was dangerous. I survived, and I've got
photos to prove it. Do you want to see them?”
firms had worked on high profile cases before and had recently been
involved in the rescue of two oil executives held in the Ivory Coast.
He took $12million in fees, fees that allowed him to expand his
security business and open plush offices in Washington DC.
John Taylor: Kevin
arrived on the scene in Washington at a very interesting time.
Everybody was looking for new technologies; they were looking for
ways to address the terrorism issue. He arrived with all the answers.
Narrator: By the time he
was hired to find Madeleine, Halligen had already made a big
impression in DC. He displayed all the trappings of power and wealth.
As well as his high status offices, he had four homes and two
chauffeurs, travelled first class, and stayed in 5 star hotels.
John Taylor: A spy
gentleman who's connected with the intelligence agencies in England
and he has ties to the vice president’s office of the United
Narrator: A year
previously he'd also hosted the White House great and the good at his
lavish million dollar wedding to a respected Washington lawyer.
Harry Winter: I was told
that the gentleman was the Jack Bauer of our time; the actual Jack
Bauer. This was someone who was about to go out and save the world,
yet again this week.
intimated that he would make full use of his highly-placed DC
connections in the search for Madeleine. He would use the fund’s
money in a plan that was like something out of a spy movie: covert
ops, satellite imagery, surveillance, voice analysis, profiling and
deep background checks. Risky if caught red handed as it was illegal
to carry out a private investigation when the Portuguese police were
trying to solve the case themselves.
investigation was codenamed Operation Omega. The ground op would be
run by Henri Exton, former head of undercover operations at MI5.
Henri Exton: All
conventional investigative methods had been tried and hit a brick
wall. He knew that I was an expert in non-conventional investigative
methodology and felt I could bring something to the table.
Narrator: Henry Exton set
about pulling together a team of hand picked, highly trained
Henri Exton: Everything
operational, I was responsible for, and everything technical,
Halligen was responsible for. His side was the undertaking of the
technical elements to it.
Something that the trust and the family found very enticing was the
promise of the use of technical means - satellite imagery - and Kevin
can provide this extraordinary means of finding missing people. Were
there shots taken on the night of the abduction?
Narrator: This promise
helped clinch the deal and the “Find Madeleine Fund” agreed to
pay him up to $1,000,000. A cornerstone of Halligen’s plan was an
appeal campaign to encourage potential witnesses to come forward.
With the plan signed off, the Madeleine hotline went live on the 30th
of April, 2008.
Tim Craig-Harvey: We had
over 500 calls and emails, some more credible than others, and we
were touching on some pretty murky areas. Convicted paedophiles
called in saying they knew who had taken her.
Narrator: The team
focused on two key efits, including the iconic sighting by the
McCanns’ friend, Jane Tanner.
Tim Craig-Harvey: What
really helped us were the images that had been created of this figure
supposedly carrying a child away and this really sparked people's
memories. And then there was a full face drawing of a potential
suspect who we knew as “George” because he bore a vague
resemblance to George Harrison.
Narrator: The day after
the appeal launched, the team had their first breakthrough. A key
witness phoned. Gary Williams, an IT worker in the city, had been on
holiday in the Algarve.
Gary Williams: I saw the
efit and immediately I was pretty sure that I would recognise this
person as the person I saw in our bar in the apartments that day. I
rang the Madeleine line. We went through what I'd seen. They did the
efit. He had long hair with a moustache. He just stood out; he just
Narrator: This was the
efit that Gary Williams produced. It was a major breakthrough for the
publicly funded investigation. Was this the face of the man who’d
abducted Madeleine McCann?
Narrator: One year after
the disappearance of Madeleine, the Find Madeleine Fund hired
security specialist Kevin Halligen. Just weeks into the case the
$1,000,000 publicly funded investigation to find her had a
breakthrough. Covert operatives had been deployed to Praia da Luz and
they had a prime suspect in their sights.
Tim Craig-Harvey: We
needed to have an understanding of what the area was like because
that would clearly help us identify useful information.
reports were sent daily to Kevin Halligen from operatives on the
Tim Craig-Harvey: They
were taking footage of the area and talking to people to get a feel
of who knew what or who might be hiding information.
Operative: Report sent
11:30 hours Thursday 1st of May. There's an almost sombre atmosphere,
and a distinct lack of families or any type of guests around the
resort. I have managed to get a room in the block next to the
interest and in fact I'm probably no more than 15 yards away from
Narrator: As far as the
McCanns and the fund were aware, there were 42 specialists working on
the case across several countries, including a team of analysts in
John Taylor: There were
some undercover people, there were some people working inside the
hotel, and there were also people doing interviews, and so there were
multiple investigations going on. From our perspective we were doing
just this one little piece of it.
Narrator: Armed with the
efit, undercover operatives embedded themselves in the community,
looking for anyone who might have information. One of the first
people covertly interviewed was Andy, a homeless British expat who
knew the seedier side of Praia da Luz.
Operative: I saw him
early afternoon in the church area and eventually found him again in
a sort of shopping precinct near The Bull's Head bar.
Andy: Madeleine? Who's
Madeleine? I didn't even hear of her. I didn't read newspapers or
watch television cause I'd been travelling a lot and I got here and I
... now I know it’s …. We call it in this town it's “Madeleine
country”. Everyone is paranoid in this town that I'm going to get
the blame; I'm going to get the blame; they're going to point the
finger at me or someone like me.
Narrator: Everyone was
secretly photographed, recorded and videoed. These would then be sent
to Halligen’s specialists in DC for assessment and future tasking.
Andy: There’s no eyes
on me, basically. I'm just a man with two dogs. No one's watching me,
that's for sure.
Narrator: Andy's friend,
nicknamed by the investigators “The Secret Cardinal”, also came
under surveillance. He claimed to know what happened to Madeleine.
That made him a priority target.
surprisingly bright, speaks excellent English, and talks in absolute
riddles. He says he's in Praia da Luz to seek out evil, and he knows
there's a lot of it about. He hints that he's the secret cardinal
sent by the Pope to find the evil involved in the little girl’s
abduction. He says he's sure she's dead and he knows who has done it.
He refuses to say who it is because he'll never get out of Portugal
alive. I do have the feeling that he's involved in this whole thing.
Andy: If you don't know
him, you think he's a bit of a weirdo. But he's not. He got the blame
for little Madeleine. I know it's not him.
Narrator: In DC, John
Taylor listened to the tape of The Secret Cardinal. In his opinion,
investing more resources on him was wasting valuable time and the
John Taylor: There's two
sides to the issue with The Secret Cardinal. On the one hand, any bit
of information, especially when someone is telling you that they have
answers, you have to take that information and document it. But if
you realise that someone is delusional, they're unreliable, or they
have maybe a mental issue that they're trying to get themselves
pulled into the case or get attention for themselves, you have also a
responsibility to realise that, compartmentalize, and move on to more
legitimate investigative subjects.
Narrator: It was now 5
weeks into the investigation. Halligen had already been paid $220,000
but as the operation shifted up a gear, he was pressing the fund for
another half a million. He maintained the operation was costly.
Tim Craig-Harvey: There's
a team of guys on the ground who clearly are experienced in
conducting surveillance and gathering information. These are
professionals. They have a photograph of Madeleine from a year ago
and they also have the image of George and the efit that had been
provided for us. And their role is twofold: find the child; find
Narrator: Intel suggested
George was a gypsy and Madeleine may have been kidnapped. They began
searching for George among the local Roma community.
Tim Craig-Harvey: The
team goes to all these markets and they have to, in as subtle a
manner as possible, look at every small child with vaguely blonde
hair. So any child that is hanging out with a group of Roma is going
to stand out. They’re trying to identify whether there is a child
in a strange group, where there's a child behaving strangely, and
also whether they can find this guy George. And clearly a lot of this
information can be discounted straight away if you can go “That's
not her.” or “That doesn't bare enough resemblance to the
potential abductor.” And it's the sort of situation whereby you
know when you've got the right image. So if someone had taken a
photograph of Madeleine McCann at one of these gypsy fairs, we would
have looked at it and known, or her parents would have looked at it
Narrator: At the market
in Estói, the undercover team found the first close match to the
efit, but after careful scrutiny London rejected him. On Monday the
9th of June 2008, there was a breakthrough at Algoz market at around
Tim Craig-Harvey: It was
extraordinary that after about 4 days, the team identified someone
who bore a striking resemblance to one of the e-fit pictures. The
team sent the image back to us and it did indeed look very similar to
the character George.
Operative: At about 13:20
hours, man B loaded the bag from his stall into a silver Opel Vivaro
Narrator: Believing their
target was a possible match, the team followed him.
Tim Craig-Harvey: Clearly
there was a desire to house (?) him and find out where he lived, to
find out whether he had a permanent base. It was very exciting
because we’d been following a line of enquiry and it appears as
though we've been following the right line of enquiry.
Operative: Man B stopped
in the town of Algoz and used the phone box at 14:36 hours. The
telephone number of the phone box was 282 574 970. The vehicle
proceeded south towards Albufeira and then proceeded on the N125
towards Faro. He then turned left along the dirt track.
Tim Craig-Harvey: His
ability to drive quickly and down strange roads meant that really it
was very difficult to keep any kind of tabs on him.
Operative: He then
reversed into another dirt track and stopped. He was not seen to
leave the vehicle. Surveillance was unsighted and unable to contain
the vehicle. As a result, the vehicle was lost at about 14:55 hours.
Narrator: Had a chance to
find Madeleine McCann slipped away?
Tim Craig-Harvey: A
couple of days later he's then seen at another market and one of the
team has the wherewithal to go to this guy's stall - he's selling
cotton bags - and he buys one of these bags and bags it up
immediately in a plastic bag.
Operative: We approached
George and purchased a bag from the stall. This will now be logged as
Tim Craig-Harvey: So
we've got photographic evidence, video evidence, and here is a bag
that he handled and has his fingerprints on. Now that we have a
photograph of the potential abductor, there is clearly a desire to
show this to those who have helped In the efit process to see if they
Gary Williams: They
contacted me and said that they had got some pictures they wanted to
show me, and a video. So they came back to the house and showed that
to me but it wasn't anybody that I'd seen before. It wasn't the
person I saw in the bar that day.
Narrator: The public has
never been told how the investigation was conducted but the files
reveal that one of the key witnesses was secretly recorded - Jane
Tanner, the woman who had seen a man carrying a child away on the
night of the 3rd of May.
Tim Craig-Harvey: We had
a device in the room which would pick up what she was saying, and
then that conversation was recorded in another room.
Narrator: Kevin Halligen
and a colleague conducted the interview. They began by checking
details of one of her witness statements.
(Recording of Tanner
Tim Craig-Harvey: She was
then presented with a photograph of this guy George in the market at
which point she broke down and said “That is the guy that I saw
carrying the child”. This was a pretty strong indication that the
guy who had been seen in Portugal, had an integral role in the
disappearance of Madeleine. It was extraordinary to be in the room
next door on my own, listening to the conversation, and to be part of
Narrator: In the search
for Madeleine this was possibly the biggest breakthrough anyone had
made. …… But when voice analyst Richard Parton heard the
recording, doubts crept in.
Richard Parton: Everyone
wants to find this guy - don't get me wrong. Everyone wants to find
him, but the more she had to describe him, the more inaccurate she
became. From the witness statements I had processed before, there was
nothing indicating that he was involved - nothing at all. I think the
most exciting thing about finding him was that we could finally rule
Narrator: Despite the
serious doubts, the files revealed surveillance was continued on the
market trader for the next three months, but he was eventually
eliminated from all enquiries.
Tim Craig-Harvey: My
understanding is that it was felt that she wasn't as credible a
witness as we had hoped. Witnesses will give evidence thinking that
that is what they saw or understood at the time which is quite often
inaccurate. And so Jane Tanner having said “This is the guy that I
saw”, it may just have been that she so wanted to help that she
Narrator: But Jane
Tanner’s secret recording did reveal something unexpected. It
seeded doubts about Kevin Halligen’s credentials to lead the
Richard Parton: I
actually caught Kevin's voice on tape and also happened to catch him
in action. I learned remarkable things about him. And not only did he
have no skillsets, he was out of his depth, and honestly, for this
person, that should not have been the case.
Halligen’s team was halfway through the publicly funded
investigation into Madeleine's disappearance. Questions about
Halligens suitability to lead the investigation were emerging and
divisions were opening up between him and the team.
Henri Exton: He didn't
have contact with the sensitive operational side and the team on the
ground didn't trust him. They didn't want to be in his company
because he was a drunk and he bounced cheques on them. While the team
was in Praia da Luz, Halligen spent most of his time in DC trying to
persuade people to engage him.
Narrator: But despite
this, the team continued to make every effort to find Madeleine. They
investigated a second sighting of a potential abductor on the night
she went missing - a person seen carrying a child towards the beach.
While the publicly-funded investigation continued, the Portuguese
police investigation was coming to an end. On the 21st of July 2008,
the Portuguese police dropped the case against Gerry and Kate McCann
and released 30,000 pages of files.
Kate McCann (from archive
footage): We welcome the news today, although it is no cause for
celebration. It's hard to describe how utterly despairing it was to
be named arguido and subsequently portrayed in the media as suspects
in our own daughter's abduction and worse. Equally, it has been
devastating to witness the detrimental effect this status has had on
the search for Madeleine.
sidelined from the real investigation, Halligen started to spin tales
about the Praia da Luz operation to colleagues back in Washington DC.
Richard Parton: He starts
going over these elaborate schemes that he's got people down there
for. And he is running this. He's got a guy that's under cover as a
Narrator: Halligen was
telling people he hoped the priest would be able to extract a
confession from someone who knew about Madeleine's fate.
Richard Parton: He's got
a couple that's on holiday with a child that looks a lot like
Madeleine. Apparently she was to be used as bait to see who might
have been interested in a blonde haired little girl. That's a pretty
hefty operation to support. The story he's trying to tell me, he had
it all covered.
investigation was now 5 months old. Things were starting to unravel
for Kevin Halligen. Questions were mounting on how he spent the vast
sums paid so far and that wasn't all.
Tim Craig-Harvey: They
had been promised something which wasn't being delivered, that
something being satellite imagery of their daughter being abducted.
“You promised it. It was part of the pitch. Where is it?”
Narrator: He'd clinched
the contract with boasts of military grade material, but despite
repeated promises, images from the night Madeleine disappeared had
not been produced.
Tim Craig-Harvey: From
all the enquiries I made with companies all over the world, there was
no imagery taken over Praia da Luz of that night, and Kevin knew this
because I told him.
Henri Exton: Heligan
couldn't deliver his IT side. He said he had access to satellite not
only on the day but retrospectively. And the only thing he ever
produced was a Google map of Praia da Luz. We just laughed thinking
“Is this it?”.
Narrator: And it wasn't
just the McCann's he was letting down.
Tim Craig-Harvey: On the
Friday morning the locks had been changed on the office. Kevin had
told the landlord that I had the money to pay the rent and had chosen
not too and had effectively stuck it in my back pocket and walked
off. There was no point in trying to talk to Kevin because he wasn't
in the country and had pretty much stopped taking my calls anyway.
Henri Exton: Money would
come in on the Monday and within minutes Halligen was spending that
money on refurbishing the Great Falls mansion and on £700 lunches.
All this money was going on non investigative stuff. Given that I had
people who were doing incredible work not being paid, I was having to
pay them. He was making excuses and it didn't matter that there was a
little girl involved
Narrator: Just as alarm
bells were ringing about Halligen, the press dropped a bombshell.
Tim Craig-Harvey: The
gist of the story was that Halligen was a conman, that he had stolen
funds, that nothing had been delivered, and that the contract had
Narrator: Amidst claims
and counterclaims, the investigation was disintegrating and the Find
Madeleine Fund was demanding all the investigation files and full
disclosure of the money spent.
Kevin Halligen: It is a
gross distortion of what was actually happening. The print media in
particular took this line that really nothing was being done, I was
living the high life on the proceeds of the McCann case. Trust me, I
didn't buy so much as, you know, a new suit in DC.
Narrator: But Henri Exton
found a different story when he obtained Halligen’s bank accounts.
Henri Exton: He kept a
suite at the Willard hotel open permanently, and he had a discounted
rate at $700 a night. It was just ostentatious beyond belief.
Kevin Halligen: The money
- all of it - is fully accountable and the fact that I actually had
to raise the loan in order to pay these people substantiates that,
and that's provable. It's paper.
Interviewer: Who was the
loan raised with for example?
Kevin Halligen: The name
of the company …. oh my word …. I'll come back to you on that. I
just can't remember it - it's gone clean out of my mind. Basically
it's a clearing house in DC.
Narrator: Henri Exton
lost more than £100,000, and he wasn't the only contractor out of
Richard Parton: People
whom Kevin owes money to are coming out of the woodwork around here.
The bills that he ran up were quite significant for a lot of private
contractors, so me and two other individuals took it upon ourselves
to start looking, to start finding him.
Narrator: Kevin had sold
his Washington mansion and left his American wife Maria. By now
people weren't only asking about the money. The fiction that was
Halligen’s international reputation started to fall apart. The
story was it was time for Halligen to clear out of town.
Tim Craig-Harvey: He went
into - I think it was - PNC bank in DC and drew out $100,000 at a
time, stuffed it in his pocket, and that was the last anyone saw of
Kevin Halligen: It didn't
vanish. Everybody knew that I was going to Rome. It has also been
reported that I was going to Rome for a holiday with this hot young
lady. Untrue. This myth that I'd vanish off to Rome and spend
everybody's money is exactly that - a myth.
Narrator: When the public
raised funds to find Madeleine, they would never have believed that
more than a million dollars of it would end up in the hands of one of
the world's biggest conmen. On the run from the FBI and former
colleagues, questions were now being asked about where the million
dollar budget to find Madeleine had gone.
John Taylor: They were
really two Kevins. There was one Kevin who was this intelligence
officer, who was running back and forth diligently working on
important stuff. And then, apparently, there was a second Kevin, and
this was a Kevin who was staying in posh hotels, had a mansion, and
was running around with a chauffeur and eating at the finest
restaurants and having what appeared to be a pretty good time living
the high life.
Narrator: Former MI5 man
Henri Exton, who had months on the ground in Praia da Luz
investigating Madeleine's disappearance, now turned his sights on his
Henri Exton: When I
realised that he wasn't who he said he was, and that he was taking
the money, stealing the money, and everything he was doing, I started
to investigate him. It was a concerted and coordinated private
investigation which was privately funded, and we spent a lot of
private money ourselves looking for him. I was responsible for
compiling the dossier of evidence and I took it to the FBI.
Narrator: Exton alleged
he had found more than four million dollars in theft and fraud
including from members of his own team working on the Madeleine case.
James R Conner III: I met
with Henri Exton and he brought with him some allegations and some
documentations that substantiated his claim. I made no promises to
him and I took it back to FBI management and we reviewed it for, you
know, whether it was something that we could get prosecuted and
whether it was something appropriate for us to work. And we decided
it was and I started following the logical course.
powerful friends had now become formidable enemies. With the FBI,
they put together the pieces of the jigsaw that was Halligen’s
Henri Exton: He would be
evasive if you tried to go into his background even subtly. When I
first met him he was Kevin Halligan. And when I went to the red
defence office, everybody called him “Kevin”. When he then
invited me to go to America, people started calling him “Richard”.
So when I came back to England, the people in the office in London
said “Who’s Richard?”. I said “It's Kevin.” They said “Why
is he calling himself Richard?”. I said “I don't know.” I asked
Richard “Is it Kevin?” and he said “I’m Kevin Richard
Halligan, but Richard sounds better.” I remember him saying that to
me. Then people in America started calling him “Halligen” - not
“Halligan”. His real name was Kevin Patrick Halligen, and he was
Irish, not English. He was reinventing himself in America.
Narrator: And apparently
this wasn't the first time he'd reinvented himself.
Richard Parton: The best
we can tell is we found a Kevin Patrick born in Dublin about the same
time frame that Kevin Richard claims to be born.
Kevin Halligen: I have
operated under other names. I have substantial issues which emanated
from my Northern Ireland experience. OK? So I use different names at
Interviewer: So let me
come to that, yeah? What about this allegation that's been published,
that you're not who you say you are; that Kevin Richard Halligen is
not your real name, and that you really are Richard Patrick Halligan.
Kevin Halligen: As to
Kevin Patrick Halligan that is incorrect. Factually incorrect.
Interviewer: And so
you're saying that if you have used different names, it's to do with
cover or ..
Kevin Halligen: It's to
do with cover.
Richard Parton: We have a
handwritten CV that he'd generated. Most of that doesn't match
Narrator: But there was
one clue in the CV that led them to Halligen’s former life. Back in
the 1990s he worked for this company. [Cellect] They had a contract
for supplying battery packs to the British Army for bomb disposal
robots. He was employed as a battery engineer.
Kevin Halligen: I was a
technical specialist. I initially started working with the Ministry
of Defence during the troubles in Northern Ireland. A lot of the work
that I was doing was specifically for the special forces community.
Narrator: He was never
security vetted so it is unlikely he’d ever worked with special
forces in Northern Ireland. During the troubles, Kevin Halligen
worked for a company supplying battery parts for household boilers.
Henri Exton: He implied
on the technical side that he'd worked in Iraq, that he’d worked in
the cabinet office on the technical side. But, no, he was very
careful who he told which story to.
Tim Craig-Harvey: He told
people that he'd been in the SAS, that he'd worked for and with MI6
Kevin Halligen: I never
held myself out to work for MI5 or MI6, or the intelligence agencies.
But the business that I have worked in - right? - for a long time is
effectively the grey area of security and intelligence.
Henri Exton: His pentagon
pass was a fake, and I found there was a partially constructed CIA
pass on the computer, so it looked as if he was trying to create a
pass for the CIA. He was printing together his wallet litter for the
right scenario to pull it out of his wallet and flash it at somebody.
Tim Craig-Harvey: Kevin,
in his mind, was James Bond and Richard Hanney and every superhero
that you care to name. He was everything to everyone, and in his own
mind, he was I think probably even greater than the sum of all those
James R Conner III: By
all the information that I could gather, in my best judgement and the
judgement of others, he was not a spy
Narrator: But that didn’t
stop him from fooling some of the most powerful people in the
intelligence community who’d attended his wedding in 2007.
Tim Craig-Harvey: Because
there was so many of the DC great and good who were going to be in
attendance, there is no way that anyone could take photographs of
these people and therefore no cameras.
Harry Winter: Maria told
me simply that since he was so deeply involved in the intelligence
services on both sides of the Atlantic, that he was not able to use
his real name. I think everybody at the ceremony actually believed
that I was a priest. In actuality, I'm an actor in the Washington DC
area. For me it was yet another performance. I would do what was in
essence a fake wedding.
Tim Craig-Harvey: When I
found out that the wedding itself was a sham, I just laughed because
it's just one more piece of Halligen. You kinda go “Really? That as
Harry Winter: In
retrospect, I think the best actor there that day was Kevin Halligen.
Kevin Halligen: The idea
of the fake wedding achieved two things. One was, it demonstrated
that I was on friendly terms with, and close to, a lot of the people
on the guest list. And the second was that it created the cover that
I actually lived in DC rather than living in the UK because the
people that I was going to be working against [are] certainly not the
people you want turning up in leafy Surrey.
Narrator: Halligan said
it was all part of a secret US operation.
Interviewer: Which was
the government Agency
Kevin Halligen: DEA
Henri Exton: (Laughter)
Well, that's the first time I've heard that.
Narrator: In truth, the
answer to the fake wedding appears to be much simpler; he was already
married and had been since 1991.
Tim Craig-Harvey: Clearly
he was still married to his first wife. And why it bothered him, I'm
not sure but he didn't want to be a bigamist.
Narrator: On the run from
accusations of stealing from the Find Madeleine Fund and other
clients, Halligen was finally tracked down.
Maia Miller: On November
12th, 2009 a federal grand jury here in DC returned an indictment
charging Mr Halligen with wire fraud and money laundering. And he was
arrested a few days later on November 25th 2009 in England. I believe
it was at a hotel in Oxford.
Narrator: Ultimately it
wasn't the McCann case that led to his arrest. In 2007 Halligen had
bought his marital home with money stolen from a client in a previous
Kevin Halligen: The
stories emanate from the activity of a small group of well placed,
powerful individuals who decided it would be an awful lot better if
he was out of the way. Now - you know - some would say “Well, why
not put a 9mm in the back of his head?”. I think it was much more
useful for them to discredit me, to say that the guy is a complete
stories did not wash with federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty
Maia Miller: He was
sentenced to 44 months incarceration. He then was subjected to
deportation proceedings and he was ultimately removed from the United
States, and I believe he's no longer in the States.
Narrator: It is 7 years
since Madeleine McCann went missing. Her disappearance remains a
mystery. But today officers from Scotland Yard are working on a
£5,000,000 investigation into what happened called “Operation
DCI Andrew Redwood (from
archive footage): I still genuinely believe that there is a
possibility that she's alive.
Reporter: Now for the
first time, detectives here at Scotland Yard will be looking at all
the evidence. They’ll be checking files and documents and, in their
own words, will be bringing their own expertise to the case.
Narrator: Kevin Halligen
is out of jail and back in the UK. He’s set up a new consulting
business and says he has offered advice to operation Grange. To date,
they have not returned his calls. Henri Exton and the team completed
a report on Operation Omega explaining all the work done and
recommendations for future action. Its authors are legally bound not
to discuss it publicly, but the report is in the hands of Scotland
Henri Exton: Well
obviously I can't go into any details but I suppose the regret is
that work we presented didn't solve the mystery of her disappearance.
But the work that we did do provided significant, significant
opportunities to take it to the next level. Sadly the distraction of
Halligen’s behavior somewhat undermined the very good work that was
Narrator: The report,
funded by public donations, reveals that amongst the most
groundbreaking leads were these two photo e-fits of a possible
suspect, not revealed publicly until 5 years later when they were
released by the current Scotland Yard investigation who described the
e-fits as vitally significant.