OPEN LETTER TO Bates Wells Braithwaite AND TO HaysmacIntyre
Respectively Solicitors and Accountants for the Madeleine Fund
Individual Copies sent to redacted and redacted
who it is reported were jointly concerned with setting up the Fund
Dear Sir and Madam,
Several years ago I wrote to you about claims by Francisco Marco - proprietor of the detective agency, Metodo3, that they would be able to return Madeleine McCann to her parents 'by Christmas'.
You were kind enough to reply. You denied that such a claim had been made.
I am not sure whether you were fully aware that the McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell had already said that the family were satisfied, saying '....but we are pleased the agency is confident that they will find Madeleine in due course.'
You will also be aware that Marco's words are on a 'video' clip, available on YouTube, where he re-states his position, - helpfully in English. (full reference in Appendix - 1)
But given that you and HaysM were concerned with the creation and running of the Fund are we to believe that both your firms were simultaneously neglecting their duties.
As you know, in her autobiography, 'madeleine', Kate McCann herself admitted that these words had been used, which gave rise to a number of questions about your and HaysM's level of interest, professional competence, and/or veracity.
You will be aware that a recently published book - La Cortina de Humo - by a sometime employee of Metodo3 details several large scale frauds committed against the Madeleine Fund, and shows how the techniques employed should have been apparent to anyone with responsibility for 'due diligence' and certainly to a trained and conscientious accountant. (full reference in Appendix - 2)
Again this may raise important questions about professional competence.
I am confident that you will have read the book, and will have studied in depth the chapter devoted to the fraud, but so that anyone else reading this shall know, he details very crude and simple methods, which should have been obvious to anyone. He says that evidence is available to investigators, and may already be in their hands.
They include simply obtaining receipts for travel from an El Corte Ingles travel branch, and then forging them by overwriting the relevant details, before including these in the monthly invoices to the Fund, overseen by you.
He states that the 20 operatives - or 40 as sometimes quoted - who were being routinely charged for consisted of at most three (3), and for most of the time, only two. He names them.
He goes on to expose the mendacious claim that Metodo3 had successfully recovered more than 300 missing persons in a single year. He worked for this company for several years and was aware of only two (2) such examples. Perhaps these issues could and should have been explored in detail before the contract was signed. Data Protection and the laws relating to the protection of minors would not prevent outline details of many of the cases being supplied for investigation, and Company accounts detailing a total of only twelve (12) employees are public documents.
He publishes the e-mails he sent to the people who had been financing the operation, in which he gives details of the fraud. He also sent these to two of the six Directors of the Fund, whom he names.
He received no reply and no acknowledgement. He interprets this, perhaps with justification, as a 'wall of silence'.
It is inconceivable that you and HaysM were not made aware of this, and again it raises further questions about your involvement, and your professional competence. The possibility of higher level collusion is of course unthinkable.
In your internet advertising you both make great play of your devotion to, and the importance of conducting and maintaining Due Diligence - you use the term 42 time, and HaysM 35 times. You both mention Transparency ((58 and 44 times respectively), and Justice (86 and 16). You go further to discuss Investigation (78) and you use the word Fraud 35 times. HaysM use it 25 times.
It is clear therefore that both firms, at least in publicity and advertising, say they understand the importance of vigilance against Fraud at all levels and at all times.
It may be however that on this on occasion both firms simultaneously made the identical mistake or simultaneously failed to notice the glaring irregularities.
This would be in line with what is alleged to have happened many times during this perplexing case.
The blood and cadaver detection dogs were said to have made a series of mistakes but only in this case, when they alerted to 14 items and places linked with the McCanns - but to no other places. The dogs' previous and subsequent performance has never been successfully challenged in the criminal courts
Some of the best detectives and Police advisors from several police forces from different countries made identical and false deductions
Top lawyers and public prosecutors in Portugal concurrently and independently made identical gross errors
...and so on. The case is full of remarkable coincidences. Many hundreds have been recorded so far. The revelation that £ 500,000 of publicly donated money was squandered on a fraudulent enterprise, but worse - that no attempt was then made to recover the money, nor to take action against the alleged fraudsters, might damage public confidence in both your firms.
You are also surely aware of the book, El Método, by the proprietor of Metodo3, Fransicso Marco, in which at p. 452, he says 'Someday I'll explain if we believe that Maddie is alive or dead, and, if she was killed, who we think did it.' (full reference in Appendix - 3)
I draw this to your attention, as, of course, if it is eventually shown that Madeleine was in fact dead and that the parents knew or suspected this, as now seems increasingly likely, then the entire Fund would itself have been fraudulent ab initio, and the issue of due diligence and professional supervision will assume even greater importance, with the persons concerned being liable to account either to Civil or Criminal Courts.
The apparent failure or neglect of due diligence in the contracting of Kevin Halligen, of Oakley International, the Company referred to by Clarence Mitchell as 'the big boys, the best there is in international investigation.', - Halligen a proven and convicted fraudster and the Fund's subsequent failure to claim back the £ 0.5 m handed over to him under your joint supervision, is now a matter of historical note, and is documented and has been discussed elsewhere at considerable length.
Similarly the strange case of the contract awarded to two retired junior police officers, Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley - according to Clarence Mitchell, a team of crack detectives - and of a company falsely named in many press reports as the impressive 'Alpha Group Investigations', - a respectable company in the USA. The company, was only incorporated as ALPHAIG, with an address of a cottage in the hills of Wales, some considerable time after this had been said. This strange case has already been picked over and the timeline confirmed.
Again the level of due diligence performed here seems - to a lay outsider - to be questionable. It is not clear, for example, how even the most basic Company Check could possibly have been conducted. According to the filed Company accounts it was operating on resources of £ 650 cash and fixed assets of £ 853. This case and the alleged involvement of your two firms has been discussed at length.
But we are left wondering whether two firms of your stature could have made three consecutive and identical errors of professional judgement and competence, not learning from the preceding ones, in the handling of a huge amount of donated money paid into just one Fund, benefitting just one couple.
Yours sincerely, redacted
I fully appreciate that you are under no legal or moral obligation to reply to this letter, nor to answer any of the concerns raised.
In view of that, and the huge public interest generated by this case over the past eight years, it is intended, after a reasonable time, that this letter will be published on a web forum as an Open Letter, with some personal details redacted.
I am confident that given your commitment to Transparency, Justice and Investigation that this is acceptable.
The interview with Francisco Marco, in which he says - in English -
“I know the kidnapper and we know where he is.
We know who he is and we know how he has done it . . .”
may be viewed at 1:23 on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4crZrHLJUw
2 La Cortina de Humo - 'The Smokescreen' - by Julian Peribañez and Antonio
(August 2014, ISBN 978-84-941649-8-9)
3 El Método - ‘The Method’ - by Francisco Marco Fernández
(October 2013, ISBN 978-84-9970-943-7)
Both books are available from Amazon.es, Casa del Libro, and Amazon.co.uk
Quotes from La Cortina de Humo. Translated by a qualified and attested translator
p. 177 - I began to realise to what extent the company was swindling the fund which had been set
up and which was supported by hundreds of unsuspecting people whose sole objective was to
find Madeleine. Nothing special, just inflated expenses, invented items and false invoices, etc.
p.178 - Francisco Marco, whenever asked, always replied that Método 3 had deployed ‘twenty
men’ to investigate Madeleine’s disappearance! That was yet another lie.
This was the tactic used by Francisco Marco to inflate Método 3’s invoices to the client
p. 182 - He omitted to tell the journalist that his specialists were his mother and his cousin; he
must have thought there was no need to mention this. Alternatively, he may have thought
that the journalist had realised that his cousin was the chief financial officer (meaning the
accountant) of Método 3 and that his mother was just a woman who didn’t even hold a driving
licence and had been a secretary at a detective agency and who was involved in sales for the
agency and not investigative work.
p. 185 - He presented them with false invoices for travel and accommodation expenses for the 20
people who were supposed to be working in Portugal. The procedure for accomplishing this task
was simple and straightforward and no scientific methodology was required: all they had to do
was obtain some El Co