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)

14 - JUN 03 - Les MC et l'anarqueur


The McCanns and the conman

Transcrit par Reggie Dunlop



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 her.



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 hotels.



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?”



Narrator: Halligen’s 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 States.



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.



Narrator: Halligen 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.



Narrator: The 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 operatives.

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.

Tim Craig-Harvey: 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 looked odd.



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.



Narrator: Situation reports were sent daily to Kevin Halligen from operatives on the ground.

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 their apartment.



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 DC.

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.

Operative: He's 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 fund’s money.

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 George.



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 and known.



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 noon.

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 van.



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 exhibit SR1.

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 recognise him.

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 Interview)

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 her reaction.



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 it out.



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 fooled herself.



Narrator: But Jane Tanner’s secret recording did reveal something unexpected. It seeded doubts about Kevin Halligen’s credentials to lead the investigation.

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.



Narrator: Kevin 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.



Narrator: Increasingly 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 disenfranchised priest


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.



Narrator: The 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 been cancelled.



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 pocket.

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 him.

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 associate.

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.



Narrator: Halligen’s powerful friends had now become formidable enemies. With the FBI, they put together the pieces of the jigsaw that was Halligen’s past.

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 different times.

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 and MI5.

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 parts.

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 well?”.

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 kidnap-and-ransom operation.

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 fake.



Narrator: Halligen’s 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 Grange”.

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 Yard detectives.

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 done.



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.