By John Hirst - Justice for Madeleine
When I first heard that the McCanns intended setting up a “Fighting Fund”, I wondered why and who or what were they fighting against?
“Before its launch the fund had already raised £10,000 from medical colleagues of Gerry and Kate McCann and from a bucket of money filled up by visitors to Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital, where Madeleine’s father works“.
There is money to be made out of this.
Madeleine’s Fund created,
Companies House ‘Current Appointments Report’ shows that Madeleine’s Fund – Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited’ was created on this day:
Current Appointments Report for:
MADELEINE’S FUND: LEAVING NO STONE UNTURNED LIMITED
company was created 12th May 2007
It was initially set up, on behalf of the McCanns, in 48 hours, by the International Family Law Group (IFLG). This does appear to be something of a rush job. When jobs are rushed mistakes can be made.
Business, charity, or scam?
“It is thought the original idea was to set the fund up as a charity but this was rejected, according to The Times, when it became clear that a charity cannot be operated for the sole benefit of one person. The Charity Commission later denied this.
One of the things that distinguishes a limited company from a charity is that it does not have all the rules and regulations which govern the conduct of the fundraising and which controls the proportion of the charities funds that are spent on overheads, expenses and wages etc.
It was also reported at the time that the Charity Commission was extremely disturbed at the way the Fund was being advertised as it gave people the impression that they were donating to a charity – not a private limited company.
The reality is, however unpalatable, that Madeleine’s Fund is a private limited company and can therefore spend the money donated in any way it so chooses. The memorandum of association is so wide that practically any expenditure could be approved by the board of directors“.
Not for the first time do we have a dispute with the McCann version of events and that given by someone else or by an organisation. I think it is possible, for example, to set up a charity in aid of a child dying from cancer. If this is the case, then there is no reason why the McCanns could not have registered their cause as a charity. The problem from their end would be the lack of control exercised by the McCanns. So, it was decided to set up a company instead. Nevertheless, some people still labour under the mistaken belief that the Madeleine Fund is a charity. Even allowing for the McCann statements that it is not a charity, I feel that the false impression remains in some people’s minds because of the way that the McCanns keep aligning themselves to charities, and misleading reporting in the media such as this from the recent McCanns fund raising event “The £90,000 raised will be split between the Maddie Fund and two other missing people’s charities“. It implies that the Madeleine Fund is a charity. I have yet to see any demand made by the McCanns to correct this false information. Given that the McCanns have a history for wanting corrections made in the media on stories concerning themselves, why is there silence on their part?
Having established that the Madeleine Fund is not a charity, the focus turns to the question of a business or scam. An indication that the McCanns are in the business to make money, is their distasteful application to brand their missing 3 year old child as a trademark.
Trademark application filed
The campaign to find Madeleine McCann has applied for British and European trademarks to protect its fundraising, internet and print promotions. The applications, which were filed on May 18, seek to protect the name “Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned”. The European application also seeks protection for the provision of social services and advice for people affected by missing children.
It appears as though the McCanns are laying claim to be the only persons entitled to earn money out of Madeleine’s disappearance. This does not sit well with the English law principle that criminals should not profit from their crimes. It is accepted that the McCanns have so far not been convicted of any criminal offence in relation to the disappearance of Madeleine. So, they remain innocent until proven guilty.
Bringing the McCanns to account is a long drawn out process. It will help if the Madeliene Fund is attacked successfully in the courts. It is hoped by doing this that rich backers like Brian Kennedy and Richard Branson will have a rethink about keep funding the McCanns.
I noted that it was originally stated that the McCanns would not use the Madeleine Fund in their criminal defence. And yet, the Madeleine Fund has been used to pay for the McCanns legal fight against Mr Amaral. The published accounts do not refer to it being used for this purpose in relation to Madeleine, but the court injunction clearly refers to Madeleine as being one of the claimants in the case. Once again we have an inconsistency from the McCann Camp.
It’s a business we are dealing with. I question the not for profit aspect. Accepting it is a business does not rule out the possibility that it is also a scam. Those conducting scams are in the business of making money. A legitimate business is not a scam, and a scam is not a legitimate business. My suspicion is that what we are really dealing with here is a scam. I do not have enough evidence to support a criminal beyond all reasonable doubt standard of proof, however, the civil standard of balance of probabilities does not look good for the McCanns.