Duarte Levy..

Freelance journalist

McCanns consider returning to Portugal

Kate and Gerry McCann are considering a return to Portugal even before the second anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance, a source close to the couple has told 24Horas.

Kate and Gerry McCann leaving portugal on september 2007
Kate and Gerry McCann leaving portugal on september 2007

“I know that some contacts have been made with the lawyers in Portugal, as well as with some of the couple’s friends in the region, but nothing has been confirmed yet”, the same source said, stressing that among the couple “Kate is more reticent towards a possible return.”
Kate and Gerry McCann abandoned Portugal in September 2007, after two days of questioning at the PJ that culminated with the couple being made arguidos, under suspicion of being involved in Maddie’s disappearance. They would both travel back to the United Kingdom, from where only Gerry would later return to Portugal.
The announcement of the couple’s possible return to our country is not seen with pleasure by part of the Algarve’s population, which can’t forgive the couple for their comments about a country that has done everything to search the world’s most famous missing girl: “That’s like the campaign that they’re doing now. It’s useless and only mocks the Algarve”, 24Horas heard from António Martins, a resident in Praia da Luz, who added that “saying that the Portuguese didn’t help them or that we didn’t give all the information, is ridiculous!”.
“They might as well start by replying to the PJ’s questions and doing the reconstitution, then we’ll see what the police thinks”, he said. Maria Afonso, a local resident, has a different opinion: “This campaign won’t bring the little girl back. Two years later, it’s stupid to think that way. This is only going to soil the Algarve’s name, and our streets. Who is going to sweep away the papers that they’re going to distribute?”

Cost of the campaign not revealed

From left: Suzi Steinhofel, Celia Edwards e Fred Phillips.
From left: Suzi Steinhofel, Celia Edwards and Fred Phillips.

It’s not known exactly how much the new campaign that the McCanns launched in the Algarve is going to cost , given the fact that the heads of the financial fund that was created by the couple nine days after Maddie’s disappearance, refused to publicise any amount, admitting that “we’re going to spend what is possible and necessary to find Maddie.”
This is an attitude that differs from the one that could be read from the Find Madeleine fund’s provisory accounts, which revealed that only 13% of the almost 3 million euros that entered the coffers were used to search for Maddie, as 24Horas reported.
The campaign, which is foreseen to last two weeks, was commissioned from an Anglo-Portuguese firm that is based in Boliqueime, ‘Atelier do Sul’, directed by Fred Phillips and Suzi Steinhofel, and renowned as one of the best and most expensive firms in the area.
Coincidentally, ‘Atelier do Sul’ was one of the few firms that were visited by the same consul that accompanied Kate and Gerry McCann’s questioning in Portimão.
Just like her predecessor, Bill Henderson, Celia Edwards abandoned our country after the McCann case.

Duarte Levy on 24horas

♦ Translated by Astro from Joana Morais blog.

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Portugal, , , , , , , , , ,

Maddie: Interference by English ambassador questioned

English authorities refused to release information “to prevent affecting the relationship with the Portuguese government”

John Buck

John Buck

In the Maddie case, the Foreign Office, the English foreign affairs ministry, in a reply to a request to access the communications of then British ambassador to Portugal, John Buck, refused to release those details, alleging that the publication of said information would affect the relationship between both governments.
The request to access those documents was filed by British citizens and journalists under the “Freedom of Information Act 2000”, a law that regulates free public access to information concerning the work of the government and of public institutions in general, namely the police.
Despite the fact that the English Government’s reply mentions communications between its representatives and the Portuguese police, the 13 emails that are at the core of the matter have been sent or received by the ambassador, the consulate in Portimão, and the representatives of the British Foreign Office in Portugal and in London, between the 9th of May and the 21st of June 2007.
According to a source at the Foreign Office itself, some of the emails that were exchanged between the ambassador and the ministry “contain obvious evidence of the interference of the diplomat with the PJ’s hierarchy and that fact has conditioned the investigation”.
In the same document, the English government further confirms that “a [McCann] family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments made by that individual to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties”.
All requests for information that have been sent to the English government until this moment are justified by public interest, demanding explanations about the high degree of assistance that was given to the McCanns, about respect towards the Portuguese authorities, and the manner in which public funds were spent in the Maddie case.

Duarte Levy on 24horas

Read also in portuguese – leia também em português.

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Portugal, , , , , , ,

Maddie : “Disclose details would risk damaging the relationship on which good inter-governmental co-operation was based.”

“In October 2007 the complainant asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for information concerning communications between the then Ambassador to Portugal John Buck and the Portuguese police on the subject of the disappearance of the child Madeleine McCann.”

“FCO told the Commissioner that a family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments made by that individual [John Buck]to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties. FCO did not approach the family member again during the Commissioner’s investigation but told the Commissioner that they were confident the individual would not appreciate being contacted regarding disclosure of the relevant personal information, a position the Commissioner accepted.”

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Filed under: Documents, Madeleine McCann, , , , , , , , , ,

The many “casualties” of the Maddie case

imagem111bThe investigation into Maddie’s disappearance, apart from the enormous worldwide media exposure, was marked by a relevant number of casualties among the diplomats and policemen who participated or touched this sensitive case.

In Portugal, after the exit of Gonçalo Amaral, who was removed from the Maddie case investigation by request from the British authorities, the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) also lost then national director, Alípio Ribeiro, as well as several other inspector.

Guilhermino Encarnação, a joint national director, responsible for the Directory of Faro at the moment when Madeleine McCann disappeared, may be the next confirmed casualty in this case. The man who became known in the investigation for having prevented Gonçalo Amaral from carrying out the interrogation of Kate McCann at a moment when she was, according to several inspectors who were present on location, “ready to talk”, has been on long-term leave due to health issues and is not returning to active anymore.

Despite the former director’s health issues, an internal source at the PJ in the Algarve advances that Guilhermino Encarnação only went on leave after the statements from a Spanish former private detective, who revealed the existence of a “mole” inside the PJ, who allegedly, and for months, provided information to Método 3, the agency that worked for the McCanns.

According to the statements from the former Método 3 operating officer, which were further confirmed by a PJ source, the “mole” wasn’t the PJ director in Faro, but rather a person who was close to him and under his protection.

On the British side, some diplomats and policemen also fell, including the ambassador and the consul in Portugal, respectively John Buck and Bill Henderson.

Ambassador John Buck was replaced on the 10th of September 2007, the day following the constitution of Kate and Gerry McCann as arguidos. One month earlier, in August of the same year, the consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson, had resigned, fully abandoning the diplomatic career. His substitute, Celia Edwards, would not stay in Portugal for a long time, either.

The Foreign Office also lost Sheree Dodd and Clarence Mitchell, the former becoming the head of communications for the English parliament, and the latter, becoming the McCann couple’s official spokesman, while maintaining, for some time, a “privileged relationship” with the British government.

Duarte Levy

Filed under: Madeleine McCann, Portugal, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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