Wednesday, 9 January 2008

London asked for more time before the McCann are charged

Portuguese Police consider that they have enough evidence to charge the McCann and some of their friends, without the need of a new round of inquiries to the Tapas Group. However, it was suggested that the process of sending rogatory letters could achieve a better result, with the cooperation of British authorities, after the McCann and some of their friends rejected a suggestion from Polícia Judiciária to go back to Portugal and submit to another questioning.

The suggestion was transmitted through Leicester Police but the McCann legal team put as a condition to accept it that the status of formal suspect of Gerry and Kate should be lifted, first. Portuguese police justified the suggestion as a faster way of going forward with the investigation, avoiding a complex and bureaucratic process for a new questioning to take place in UK, with rogatory letters to the Home Office.

But informal messages sent from the British Government to Lisbon stated clearly that the best way to get a full cooperation from British Police, while charging the McCann, would be to follow a more time-consuming process, in order to guarantee that it would take, at least three months to achieve it, as Gordon Brown fight for political survival can have him facing elections early than expected.

Today it was revealed that Esther McVey, one of the managers of the fund to help find Madeleine, resigned to concentrate on her role as a Conservative parliamentary candidate. Other members of the board have announced the intention to resign, but were requested to wait until contacts to replace them were finished. Around 75 % of the donations have been spent in payments to several private companies and other advisers and experts that have been helping the McCann to manage the Media campaign about Madeleine’s disappearance.

With almost no donations since the parents were named formal suspects, the fund is dwindling fast and the McCann are negotiating agreements for a movie and a book. At the same time, a new private detectives company – Hogan International - was hired, with a specific mission: to review all the police investigation and try to find “weak links”. Hogan International will also replace Metodo 3, the Spanish detectives company, at the end of their contract.
Duarte Levy and Paulo Reis