It's some time since I've posted anything about Team McCann, but in the last few days the hunt for Madeleine got even more bizarre.
The Team, fortified by a couple of ex-detectives, David Edgar and Arthur Cowley, are on the trail of a Posh Spice lookalike. The mention of Mrs Beckham and Madeleine McCann was certain to reach the headlines. What I'm pretty certain about is that both these policemen are familiar with the problems of identification. It's difficult enough to be certain about who you saw in good daylight when you've had a long look, but to recall a face you saw over two years ago when in drink would have been rejected, as unreliable, by most coppers I knew.
But both these police officers must be aware of the identification rules they would have used before they retired. And this Barcelona identification breaks just about all of them. It's hardly surprising that it leads to what appears to be another dead end.
What is clear is that the Madeleine Fund is financing the operation.
I've been able look at the first year's accounts of the Madeleine Fund. For a couple of quid you can download them from Companies House.
The full title is- Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited.
Company Number: 06248215
The accounts were ruled off at the end of March last year. Then the fund had a surplus of just over 1 million pounds-£1,052,027.00 to be exact. It's not clear from the accounts, but I suspect that figure might well include the damages paid by the Express Group to the McCanns as the result of their libel settlement. The total fund income from the date it was established was £1,846,178.00. In other words in the first year the directors have authorised nearly a million pound of expenditure. That includes the fruitless payment to Metodo 3, the Spanish private investigators, who made absolutely no progress.
Page 2 of the accounts, The Director's Report , dated 11th November 2008, and signed by John J McCann, contained this
" As expected, the level of donations [to the fund] has fallen over time, although we have a number of loyal donors continuing their support. Income in the new financial year is currently significantly lower than at the same time last year. However our expenses are ongoing are likely to increase."
And this report suggests that the financial situation is now perhaps more difficult than in November 2008.
The next accounts will be filed in about ten months time.
It will be interesting to see just how challenging the financial situation will be then. I suspect that unlike between March 2007 and 2008, they will not contain these items.
Campaign Management £123, 573.00
Legal Fees and Expenses £111,522.00
Search Fees £250,000.00
Fund Legal Fees £68,799.00
Fund Professional Fees £36,070.00
I'm surprised no one has asked the McCann's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, just what these expenses paid for. Over a third of a million quid spent on professional and management fees!