Where the £2m you gave to find Madeleine McCann has gone
The fund set up to help find Madeleine McCann raised almost £2million in the first ten months after she vanished, it was revealed yesterday.
The wave of shock and public sympathy that swept Britain after her suspected abduction led supporters to donate money at a rate of almost £260 an hour.
Accounts lodged with Companies House show the fund received £1.4million in bank donations, another £391,000 over the internet and £64,000 from the sale of T-shirts and wristbands.
In total, it received £1.85million in its first ten months and earned £33,424 in interest. It spent £815,113 on the search for Madeleine in that time.
This included £26,000 to fund the purchase of merchandise and £250,000 on the fees for private investigators.
But the accounts – which have been made public for the first time – have been published with a warning that donations had gone on to fall dramatically and were now ‘significantly lower’ than in the immediate aftermath of the three-yearold’s disappearance in Portugal in 2007.
Support for her parents – Kate and Gerry – was rocked when Portuguese police named them as suspects, and when it emerged they had used public donations to pay two £2,000 instalments on their mortgage.
Madeleine vanished from a holiday flat in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, while her parents ate dinner at a nearby restaurant with friends.
The accounts provide a fascinating insight into the surge of support the family received, but also the costs of their worldwide campaign to find their child.
The fund’s biggest expense in the first ten months was £250,000 spent on private investigators hired to try to find her, including the Spanish agency Metodo 3.
Agency boss Francisco Marco boasted he would find Madeleine within three months, but his ‘leads’ seemingly came to nothing and the firm is no longer involved with the hunt.
The fund spent £123,573 on campaign management, which is believed to include the salary of the McCanns’ temporary spokesman Justine McGuinness and the fees of a PR agency.
A later spokesman, former BBC journalist Clarence Mitchell, had his salary paid by one of the couple’s wealthy benefactors.
The fund spent £111,522 on legal fees and expenses and £81,904 on posters and television and newspaper adverts appealing for information about Madeleine. Mr and Mrs McCann, both 40, set up the fund in May 2007.
Legal restrictions meant it could not be set up as a charity, so it is run as a not-for-profit company by a board made up of McCann friends, colleagues and relatives.
Mr McCann’s brother John is its chairman and wrote a foreword to the accounts. He said: ‘As expected, the level of donations has fallen over time, although we have a number of loyal donors continuing their support.’
He went on: ‘However our expenses are ongoing and likely to increase . . . The release of the police investigation files has enabled our investigative team to access a wealth of new information to be followed up, resulting in increased search and investigation activity.
'We will continue to ensure that Madeleine is not forgotten and will leave no stone unturned in our continued search for her.’
The accounts cover the months from May 2007 to March 2008, when the fund had £1.05million remaining in its coffers.
It has since been boosted by several libel payouts to the McCanns and their friends, the so-called Tapas Seven, which they donated to the fund.
The McCanns were cleared as suspects last August.
Their spokesman Mr Mitchell said: ‘People will be able to see that every penny of the money they so generously donated has been spent properly in the hunt to find Madeleine.’
Source: Daily Mail
Discussion at the 3 arguidos here
And why hasn't the Fraudulent Fund found Maddie?
"If the McCanns admit that their daughter is dead, they can no longer collect money from the Maddie fund, and that's a lot of money, over one million pounds. That's why they say that the girl was abducted." Gonçalo Amaral