Madeleine McCann detective loses appeal against extradition

A BUSINESSMAN whose firm helped look for Madeleine McCann has failed in a last ditch High Court bid to escape extradition over an alleged £1.3m fraud.

Kevin Halligen is now set to stand trial in the US accused of defrauding a London law firm.

It is claimed he took the money to secure the release of Dutch business executives arrested in the Ivory Coast but instead spent it on a mansion.

The 49-year-old’s company, Oakley International, was employed in 2008 by Allerton-born Kate and Gerry McCann to find their three-year-old daughter, who disappeared in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

But after six months, his contract was cancelled by the Find Madeleine Fund after he delivered little to the investigation.

Halligen, whose firm was based in Washington, was arrested in 2009 after months spent evading police.

He was found staying at the plush Old Bank hotel in Oxfordshire, where he was known under a number of aliases.

Halligen would spend most of his evenings getting drunk in the bar, witnesses said, and caused consternation over unpaid bills.

In December last year, Home Secretary Theresa May ordered his extradition to stand trial in America, but lawyers for Halligen challenged the move at London’s High Court.

However, his case fell at the first hurdle yesterday when top judges ruled he had left it too late to lodge an appeal against the extradition order.

They also dismissed claims that the tight time limit violated his human rights.

Mr Justice Stadlen concluded: “The court has no jurisdiction to entertain Mr Halligen’s appeal.”

Kate McCann this month said she was confident that her daughter can be traced after Scotland Yard was called in to review the investigation.

Read the original article in the Liverpool Echo (here).

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