The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™
Hi,

A very warm welcome to The Complete Mystery of Madeleine McCann™ forum.

Please log in, or register to view all the forums, then settle in and start chatting with us!

Enjoy your day,

Jill Havern
Forum owner

Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Page 2 of 3 Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by cass7 on 20.02.13 22:13

mmm it would be good if they started singing like a canary in what they do know -- now theres a thought big grin

cass7

Posts : 137
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-01-31

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by Inspectorfrost on 20.02.13 22:19

Mccanns paid CROOKS in the search for their missing child

Now that woukd make a nice SUN headline

Addendum

Crooks say they never were paid as much as the mccanns said they paid them LOL

Inspectorfrost

Posts : 841
Reputation : 2
Join date : 2012-12-09

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by aiyoyo on 20.02.13 22:32

@Inspectorfrost wrote:Mccanns paid CROOKS in the search for their missing child

Now that woukd make a nice SUN headline

Addendum

Crooks say they never were paid as much as the mccanns said they paid them LOL

Maybe they were! Not to find Maddie but to spy on the PJ.

The $100million remains - why did the PJ officer agree to meet with BK accompanied by one of the M3 detectives?

For one thing parallel PI investigation is illegal in Portugal, and for another thing BK has no business nosing into the investigation.

aiyoyo

Posts : 9611
Reputation : 318
Join date : 2009-11-28

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by Inspectorfrost on 20.02.13 22:36

@aiyoyo wrote:
@Inspectorfrost wrote:Mccanns paid CROOKS in the search for their missing child

Now that woukd make a nice SUN headline

Addendum

Crooks say they never were paid as much as the mccanns said they paid them LOL

Maybe they were! Not to find Maddie but to spy on the PJ.

The $100million remains - why did the PJ officer agree to meet with BK accompanied by one of the M3 detectives?

For one thing parallel PI investigation is illegal in Portugal, and for another thing BK has no business nosing into the investigation.

?????

Inspectorfrost

Posts : 841
Reputation : 2
Join date : 2012-12-09

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by aiyoyo on 21.02.13 0:33

@Inspectorfrost wrote:
@aiyoyo wrote:
@Inspectorfrost wrote:Mccanns paid CROOKS in the search for their missing child

Now that woukd make a nice SUN headline

Addendum

Crooks say they never were paid as much as the mccanns said they paid them LOL

Maybe they were! Not to find Maddie but to spy on the PJ.

The $100million remains - why did the PJ officer agree to meet with BK accompanied by one of the M3 detectives?

For one thing parallel PI investigation is illegal in Portugal, and for another thing BK has no business nosing into the investigation.

?????

Oops... I mean to say the $100m question...........etc.....

Far as I understand BK and a PI met with a PJ officer back in Nov? 2007. I stand corrected of course if I am wrong.

aiyoyo

Posts : 9611
Reputation : 318
Join date : 2009-11-28

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by tigger on 21.02.13 6:35

They did a wonderful job on finding new sightings.... mainly in Morocco for some reason.

Whilst a case is 'live' I believe it's illegal in Portugal to employ private detectives. When they were engaged, the case wasn't shelved yet. Not for many months.

BK did meet with the PJ in November 07 but they didn't know what the hell he was on about. Charitable acts I seem to remember.


____________________
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

tigger

Posts : 8112
Reputation : 24
Join date : 2011-07-20

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by bobbin on 21.02.13 8:07

@tigger wrote:They did a wonderful job on finding new sightings.... mainly in Morocco for some reason.

Whilst a case is 'live' I believe it's illegal in Portugal to employ private detectives. When they were engaged, the case wasn't shelved yet. Not for many months.

BK did meet with the PJ in November 07 but they didn't know what the hell he was on about. Charitable acts I seem to remember.

or to plant bugs or reconnoiter to find out who would be willing to share a shilling.

bobbin

Posts : 2030
Reputation : 119
Join date : 2011-12-05

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by mydadsanastronaut on 21.02.13 8:39

@bobbin wrote:
@tigger wrote:They did a wonderful job on finding new sightings.... mainly in Morocco for some reason.

Whilst a case is 'live' I believe it's illegal in Portugal to employ private detectives. When they were engaged, the case wasn't shelved yet. Not for many months.

BK did meet with the PJ in November 07 but they didn't know what the hell he was on about. Charitable acts I seem to remember.

or to plant bugs or reconnoiter to find out who would be willing to share a shilling.

Chuckling at that bobbin, because I agree with you, and this case has made us all so cynical and world weary. I am having visions of someone trying to stick bugs in plant pots etc. now, a la James Bond.

mydadsanastronaut

Posts : 94
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2012-03-21

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by tigger on 23.02.13 6:58

Just keeping useful information in one place. This link has a long list of publications re Metodo at the bottom of the page.

http://joana-morais.blogspot.com/2011/12/scotland-yard-searches-for-clues-about.html

____________________
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

tigger

Posts : 8112
Reputation : 24
Join date : 2011-07-20

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by GRACEFUL1 on 26.02.13 20:27

From Joana Morais hers is the only comment - so far!!

http://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/380363/Pep-Guardiola-spied-on-Gerard-Pique-and-other-Barcelona-players



No mention of the M. couple, that hired Método 3 in 2008 for close to 70.000 pounds per month. Why not?


«“It was a scam. They said they had fifteen people working on the
case but no, there were just three. They made up invoices for hotel
expenses and allowances for four people in the neighbouring country
[Portugal] and only one person travelled there, who in addition didn't
speak a word of Portuguese.”»
http://joana-morais.blogspot.****/2013/02/****-former-detectives-metodo-3.html

GRACEFUL1

Posts : 127
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-01-29
Location : U.K.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by GRACEFUL1 on 26.02.13 20:59

Sorry my mistake the comment in the Express was made by Pukka 5:44pm on Tuesday, 26th February 2013.

GRACEFUL1

Posts : 127
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-01-29
Location : U.K.

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by Inspectorfrost on 28.02.13 19:22

Barcelona Hire Detectives To Spy On Gerard Pique, Shakira

The agency Metodo 3 has fallen victim to Spain's economic crises, being forced to shut down private detective operations this year. In anger, the company's employees, now jobless of course, have begun to reveal secrets about their operations during their time with Metodo 3.

http://www.isportstimes.com/articles/6063/20130227/barcelona-hire-detectives-spy-gerard-pique-shakira.htm


pray2

Aiyoyo no problem

Inspectorfrost

Posts : 841
Reputation : 2
Join date : 2012-12-09

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by sharonl on 28.02.13 20:57

Barcelona spy agency scandal drags in Piqué, Shakira and politicians

Barcelona FC had defender followed as it was worried about relationship with Colombian pop star, ex-Metodo 3 staff claim

Giles Tremlett in Madrid
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 26 February 2013 16.53 GMT

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/26/barcelona-spy-agency-pique-shakira

It is a tale of private eyes, politicians, multi-millionaire football players, hip-gyrating Colombian pop stars and microphones hidden in posies of flowers.

At the centre of the blossoming scandal engulfing Barcelona's great and good lies a once ubiquitous detective agency, Metodo 3, whose safe full of secrets about the glamorous Spanish city's sordid underbelly is threatening to spill wide open.

As Spain's economy crumbles in the face of recession and austerity, Metodo 3 has joined the long list of companies to have closed its doors. Angry former employees have sought revenge by leaking some of the dirty tricks allegedly carried out on behalf of political parties and, now, the city's most famous soccer club, Barcelona FC.

The latest alleged victim of the agency's spying is the Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Piqué, who was reportedly trailed on the orders of club bosses worried about whether his romance with the Colombian pop star Shakira and his embrace of the city's nightlife was damaging his form on the pitch.

The news website El Confidencial reported that the club asked for Piqué to be followed in 2010 in order to see how much time he was spending partying. It says in September 2010 Piqué was trailed after going to a pop concert in Barcelona. Detectives logged the drinks he had and the time he got home. El Confidencial said the player eventually realised he was being tailed, but the club managed to persuade him that it was just the tabloid press.

The club issued a confusing denial. "The club does not wish to comment on this because it has no documentary evidence that this ever happened and, as a result, we deny it," a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Although rumours that the club had spied on numerous players – including former stars Samuel Eto'o, the Brazilian Ronaldinho and Portugal's Deco – have circulated for several years, it is the first time that Metodo 3 has been named as the agency that allegedly carried out the work.

The agency's political activities first came to light in published recordings of a lunchtime conversation between a local leader of prime minister Mariano Rajoy's People's party (PP) and the angry former girlfriend of a businessman closely connected to the Catalan Democratic Convergence (CDC), the party that governs Catalonia. A microphone hidden in a centrepiece posy of flowers reportedly captured her tale of alleged money-laundering in Andorra and London.

Barcelona FC's former head of security Xavier Martorell is one of the key players in the scandal. Now head of Catalonia's prison service and a senior CDC member, Martorell has admitted hiring the agency to do work for the party. He is even reported to have requested reports on people within the CDC, though he strongly denies these allegations.

However, it seems most other major political parties also hired the agency. PP secretary-general María Dolores de Cospedal has admitted using Metodo 3, and former agency employees say they also worked for the Catalan branch of the socialist party. All say there was nothing illegal about the tasks the agency was asked to perform.

Police last week raided the agency's offices in Barcelona and Madrid and removed files, leading to speculation that they were now privy to secret reports on many of the most important people in the city.

Already Catalan politicians are claiming the government wants to get its hand on the documents as a way of gathering information on them and blocking moves towards independence. The head of Spain's CNI espionage service, General Félix Sanz Roldán, has publicly stated that his agency is not involved.

____________________
"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" - Rebekah Brooks to David Cameron

sharonl


Posts : 3567
Reputation : 419
Join date : 2009-12-29

View user profile http://www.cold2012.org.uk

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by jeanmonroe on 01.03.13 1:07

"Police last week raided the agency's offices in Barcelona and Madrid and removed files, leading to speculation that they were now privy to secret reports on many of the most important people in the city."

And now privy to secret reports on the McCanns?
Could that explain the Mccanns sudden rush to offer to settle with GA?

jeanmonroe

Posts : 5133
Reputation : 886
Join date : 2013-02-07

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by jamaljr on 01.03.13 7:24

@jeanmonroe wrote:"Police last week raided the agency's offices in Barcelona and Madrid and removed files, leading to speculation that they were now privy to secret reports on many of the most important people in the city."

And now privy to secret reports on the McCanns?
Could that explain the Mccanns sudden rush to offer to settle with GA?

I want to believe this could be the case Jean, but I also remember SY removing all those boxes of evidence... fingers crossed

jamaljr

Posts : 43
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2012-10-05

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by sharonl on 01.03.13 8:41

@jamaljr wrote:
@jeanmonroe wrote:"Police last week raided the agency's offices in Barcelona and Madrid and removed files, leading to speculation that they were now privy to secret reports on many of the most important people in the city."

And now privy to secret reports on the McCanns?
Could that explain the Mccanns sudden rush to offer to settle with GA?

I want to believe this could be the case Jean, but I also remember SY removing all those boxes of evidence... fingers crossed

Removing boxes of evidence is one thing, deleting data files would be just as easy but it is not so easy to erase anything from someones memory.

How many staff are we talking about?

Remember, these people chose to work for metodo3 and obviously know full well the nature of the organisation, they could be quite ruthless and they are seeking revenge.

____________________
"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" - Rebekah Brooks to David Cameron

sharonl


Posts : 3567
Reputation : 419
Join date : 2009-12-29

View user profile http://www.cold2012.org.uk

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by Lostfridge on 01.03.13 9:00

hmmm is there any proof that they ran a money laundry service I wonder? I guess if you paid them large amounts of money, with little evidence of getting anything back...you would be pretty worried right about now?. I am sure its all something and nothing?.... winkwink

Lostfridge

Posts : 149
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2013-02-11

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by tigger on 01.03.13 9:43

@Lostfridge wrote:hmmm is there any proof that they ran a money laundry service I wonder? I guess if you paid them large amounts of money, with little evidence of getting anything back...you would be pretty worried right about now?. I am sure its all something and nothing?.... winkwink

I would have thought that the essential part of money laundering is not to leave proof lying around. Or if you actually meant 'laundry' - perhaps it was to wash the cocaine off on a short ecological 'wash and rinse' programme?
(not even accusing Metodo 3 of cocaine use, apparently nearly all paper money in the US at least, has traces of cocaine).

____________________
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

tigger

Posts : 8112
Reputation : 24
Join date : 2011-07-20

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by jamaljr on 01.03.13 12:20

Yes Sharon some real desperados involved so it could get very nasty...

The beginning of Jan 2013 was when the McCanns asked for a settlement to vindicate themselves, so they would not have been aware of this upcoming raid.

jamaljr

Posts : 43
Reputation : 0
Join date : 2012-10-05

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by jeanmonroe on 01.03.13 16:36

@jamaljr wrote:Yes Sharon some real desperados involved so it could get very nasty...

The beginning of Jan 2013 was when the McCanns asked for a settlement to vindicate themselves, so they would not have been aware of this upcoming raid.

REALLY? they SEEM TO KNOW ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS THAT haven't BEEN ASKED!
"kate and Gerry are being kept closely informed on ongoing SY review" Mr Mitchell says

jeanmonroe

Posts : 5133
Reputation : 886
Join date : 2013-02-07

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by aiyoyo on 02.03.13 16:33

@jamaljr wrote:Yes Sharon some real desperados involved so it could get very nasty...

The beginning of Jan 2013 was when the McCanns asked for a settlement to vindicate themselves, so they would not have been aware of this upcoming raid.

So they were raided twice. Once by Interpol probably instigated by SY's review, and subsequent time by Spanish Police.
Those first instance burly guys pictured carrying away boxes and boxes of papers do not look like coppers so cant be SY team.
Too distinguish looking and conspicuous to be SY coppers. Interpol agents however are different.

The first instance raid, I believe, took M3 and Mccanns by surprise. Hence, their consecutive statements that Op Grange took away 195 fresh leads supposedly for investigating purposes. They must be dead worried about it.

Money laundering usually goes hand in hand with profit from illegal activities so I wont be surprised the money was rinsed in quick cycle to rid them of residue of coke. Money laundering involves mega sum to make it worth the while to take the risk.

Since it was BK who hired M3, one wonders how did he hear or know of them, or rather what is his association with them as in the true nature of his relationship with them? He cant have got them through yellow or white pages, that is stretching the believable factor by a fair bit. Maybe both the Ms (M3 and Mccanns) have never met each other. Likely they exchanged one phone convo to confirm name and address, and all the rest was left to the hirer-middleman.

Quite why the mccanns using donor's money to pay PIs would leave an important task of the search for Madeleine to a total stranger albeit supporter to liaise and run the PI operations is an enigma. Quite how BK expects to know all the answers to the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Maddie (privileged only to the mccanns) to be able to offer to the PIs so as to help them get on their job is another $64M question.

Considering M3 has not track record in the field of missing children, quite what they are expected to do is another mystery. If any of their specialities is to be of any use to team mccanns it could be to spy on the PJ.



aiyoyo

Posts : 9611
Reputation : 318
Join date : 2009-11-28

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by tigger on 02.03.13 20:20

All I know is that they got themselves a shiny new website a year or so afterwards together with a shiny new office in Barcelona in quite an expensive area.

I also read, (love to find it again) that Kate donated some 20 Cuddlecats to M3 for their numerous staff (??) with instructions to shake or squeeze them if they needed motivation.
I believe Metodo3 also accompanied BK in November 07 when he had a meeting with the PJ. The PJ were at a loss as to what it was all about, it appeared that BK stressed his charitable work.
There were also two meetings with Murat and Murat's lawyer. Probably all about charity too I'd think.

Well there you go, a more professional outfit you can't hope to find.

____________________
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.

tigger

Posts : 8112
Reputation : 24
Join date : 2011-07-20

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by Guest on 02.03.13 20:28

@tigger wrote:I also read, (love to find it again) that Kate donated some 20 Cuddlecats to M3 for their numerous staff (??) with instructions to shake or squeeze them if they needed motivation.

Please PM Tony for the link as it was him who posted it here but I'm not sure he's allowed to post links in case he ends up in prison.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Re: Método 3 allegedly involved in espionage cases in Spain - UPDATE Francisco Marco arrested

Post by sharonl on 02.03.13 20:38

Christine Toomey of The Times wrote this article on Metodo 3 in early 2008. There's lots more about Metodo 3 on mccannfiles, just google 'Metodo 3':


Madeleine McCann and Metodo 3: Private eyes, public lies

From The Sunday Times
February 10 2008 (released online February 09
2008)


Paid £50,000 a month to find Madeleine McCann, the Spanish detective Francisco Marco said he hoped to have her home for Christmas. He issued this photofit of a suspect last month; it set off a media frenzy, but Portuguese police say it has 'no credibility'. Christine Toomey turns the tables on a private eye who is anything but

Francisco Marco might have been thinking about other matters on the day he apparently
spoke out
about his hopes that Madeleine McCann would be home for Christmas. It was the
day his Spanish private detective agency, Metodo 3 – paid an estimated £50,000 a
month to help find Madeleine – moved from cramped premises above a grocer’s shop
specialising in sausages in Barcelona’s commercial district to a
multi-million-pound suite of offices in a grand villa on one of the city’s most
prestigious boulevards.

When a taxi driver drops me off at Metodo’s new premises, he tilts his finger
against the tip of his nose and says “pijo” – meaning stuck-up or snobbish.
Pointing to the restaurant on the ground floor, he says: “That’s where people
who like to show off go – so others can see their Rolex watches and designer
clothes.”

It is in his office on the second floor that Marco has agreed to meet me, the
first British journalist, he says, to whom he has ever granted an interview.
When I point out that he was filmed by a Panorama documentary crew in November
claiming he was “very, very close to finding the kidnapper” of Madeleine, he
corrects himself: “Well, apart from that.” Marco will tell me later how who he
has spoken to, and what he has or has not said, has been misunderstood.

But first I must wait, taking a seat at a long, highly polished boardroom
table surrounded by pristine white-leather chairs. At one end of the room,
discreetly lit shelves display an impressive collection of vintage box cameras
and binoculars. Stacked against the walls are modern paintings waiting to be
hung. It feels more like an art gallery than the hub of one of the most frantic
manhunts of modern times.

There is no discernible ringing of telephones; little sign of activity of any
kind, other than a woman searching for a lead to take a pet poodle for a walk
and the occasional to-ing and fro-ing of workmen putting finishing touches to
the sleek remodelling of the office complex.

It is not clear whether this is where the hotlines for any information about
Madeleine are answered. Opposite the boardroom is an open-plan area of around
half a dozen cubicles, equipped with banks of phones and computers. Most are
empty when I arrive; admittedly it is lunch time. But I cannot ask about this.


“We won’t answer any questions about Maddie. Maddie is off limits – is that
understood?” Marco’s cousin Jose Luis, another of the agency’s employees, warns
me sternly.

Catching me eyeing the setup, he is quick to explain that Metodo 3, or M-3,
bought the premises earlier last year. Though I say nothing, I get the distinct
impression he wants to make it clear that this was before M-3 persuaded those
involved in decisions regarding the £1m Find Madeleine Fund – partially made up
of donations from the public and partly from business backers such as Brian
Kennedy – to sign a six-figure, six-month contract with the firm, whose
financial fortunes now seem assured by the worldwide publicity they’ve since
received.

“All the remodelling work took months, so we only moved in on December 14,”
he says, hesitating slightly before adding: “Moving is better at Christmas.” The
implication that this was a quiet period for M-3 is strange, as it was exactly
the time Marco is reported to have said his agency was “hoping, God willing”
that Madeleine would be imminently reunited with her family. Marco has since
denied he said this.

I cannot ask him to clarify what he did say, or whether talking about an
ongoing investigation is potentially detrimental. Instead, I am left to discuss
the matter with a handful of other private detective agencies in Barcelona, the
private-eye capital of Spain. What they tell me is disturbing.

I expect a certain amount of rivalry, and some of what they say about M-3
could be dismissed as jealous gossip. But they claim otherwise.

They say there is nothing they would like more than to see M-3 succeed in
solving the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance. But they worry that M-3’s
inflated claims of progress in the case is making a laughing stock of the rest
of them. References to Inspector Clouseau cut deep. They are proud that, unlike
their UK counterparts, Spanish private detectives have to be vetted and
licensed. They must also have a specialised university degree in private
investigation. More importantly, in a profession where discretion is critical,
they worry about the effect of such public declarations on the progress of any
investigation. It is in the days following reports that the Find Madeleine Fund
is considering sacking M-3 that I talk to Marco – though of course I cannot
discuss this with him.

Clarence Mitchell, the spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s
parents, says he believes M-3 “put themselves forward” for the task, as did a
number of other companies. Just a week after the four-year-old’s disappearance
from the McCanns’ holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 last
year, Portuguese police had announced that official searches were being wound
down. Initially, the British security company Control Risks Group, a firm
founded by former SAS men, was called on for advice. Mitchell confirms that the
company is still “assisting in an advisory capacity”, but he says that the
reason the Spanish detective agency was hired was because of Portugal’s
“language and cultural connection” with Spain. “If we’d had big-booted Brits or,
God forbid, Americans, we’d have had doors slammed in our face, and it’s quite
likely we could have been charged with hindering the investigation, as
technically it’s illegal in Portugal to undertake a secondary investigation,”
Mitchell explains. “But because it’s Metodo 3, [Alipio] Ribeiro [national
director of Portugal’s Policia Judiciara] is turning a blind eye.” Portuguese
police are reported to dismiss M-3 as “small fry”.

Mitchell says the decision to hire M-3 on a six-month contract from September
was taken “collectively” by Gerry McCann, and the family’s lawyers and backers,
on the grounds that the agency had the manpower, profile and resources to work
in several countries. “You can argue now whether it was the right decision or
not,” he says, referring to widespread reports that M-3 will find its contract
terminated in March – if it hasn’t been already – and not just because the Find
Madeleine Fund is dwindling. “But operationally Metodo 3 are good on the
ground,” he insists.

It was M-3, for instance, who recently commissioned a police artist to draw a
sketch of the man they believe could be involved in Madeleine’s disappearance,
despite Portuguese-police claims that the sketch had “no credibility”.

Clearly, the McCanns are desperate to keep Madeleine’s disappearance in the
public eye. And the release of photofits by M-3 will help to achieve this. The
McCanns insist, however, that they are not engaged in a bidding war for
interviews with American television.

But when 35-year-old Marco finally breezes into his company boardroom and
throws himself into a chair opposite me, I do not get the impression that the
prospect of losing the contract that has brought his company such notoriety is
playing much on his mind.

Marco slaps on the table a 144-page pre-prepared dossier of articles written
in the Spanish press about himself and M-3. He goes on to list some of those in
the city he says I have already been speaking to about his company. Had my
movements been monitored? If so, why would a private detective agency be
interested in this at a time when they were supposed to be tirelessly searching
for the most famous missing child in the world? This confounds me until, after
talking to Marco for half an hour, I conclude that what motivates him – as much
as, if not more than, his professed desire to present Madeleine with the doll he
boasts he carries around in his briefcase to hand to her when he finds her – is
a sense of self-regard, self-publicity and money.

In most of the many pictures of himself included in the material he hands me,
Marco looks a little nerdy. He wears the same serious expression, slightly askew
glasses and suit and tie in nearly all of them. But when we meet he has a more
debonair look. He is wearing a black polo-neck jumper underneath a sports
jacket, sharper, and better-adjusted half-rimmed glasses, and a fringe that
looks as though it has been blow-dried. It is as if his image of how a suave
private eye should be has finally been realised.

In contrast to the other private eyes I meet, however, Marco is anything but
relaxed. While most of them sit back easily in their chairs, trying to size me
up, Marco leans towards me as we talk. He presses his hands hard on the table,
almost in a prayer position, to emphasise a point, and has an intense, slightly
unnerving stare.

He seems eager to please. He summons a female assistant on several occasions
to bring me material, including a book he has recently written, to illustrate
what he is talking about. Even when I make it clear this is not necessary –
aware that these distractions eat into the time we have to talk – he insists,
partly showing off.

When I ask about his background, Marco summons her to photocopy the first
pages of his doctoral thesis on private investigation: he has a master’s degree
and a PhD in penal law. He gets strangely agitated when she can’t find it,
telling her to carry on looking, then mutters that he will have to look for it
himself. Eventually he starts to reminisce about his youth. As a teenager, Marco
says, he was so keen to become a private detective that he would get up at 5am
to follow people on his scooter and record their movements before starting and
after finishing his studies. His mother, Maria “Marita” Fernandez Lado, founded
M-3 in 1986, when he was a boy, and he used to help out in the agency every
holiday.

I hear several different accounts of what Marita was doing before she set up
the agency. According to her son, she was working on a fashion magazine when, by
chance, through Marco and his brother’s boyhood love of sailing, she met and
became friends with a private detective. “From that moment, she decided she
wanted to create her own detective agency, and wanted it to be a big company
with big cases, a real business. She wanted to change the public image of a
small private detective concerned with infidelities,” Marco says.

In Spain, private eyes are sometimes called huelebraguetas – “fly [zip]
sniffers”. One of the reasons Barcelona has always been the home of so many of
them, Marco explains, is that Catalonia – traditionally one of the wealthiest
regions in Spain – had many rich families wanting to safeguard their
inheritance. So parents would employ “fly sniffers” to check out the backgrounds
of the people their sons or daughters wanted to marry. M-3 took a different
track. It started specialising in investigating financial swindles, industrial
espionage and insurance fraud. His mother was the first private detective, Marco
says, to provide video evidence used in court to unmask an insurance fraudster:
she filmed a man reading who had claimed to be blind. Marco also speaks about
how in the early 1990s his mother had helped advise the Barcelona police, who
were setting up a new department dedicated to investigating gambling and the
welfare of children. He says his mother advised them on how to track adolescents
who had run away from home, helping them to trace 15 or 16 of them at that time.
(It is when I try to bring the interview back to this subject, to see if these
were the children the agency has talked about finding in the past, that the
interview grinds to a halt.)

But the agency almost came to grief early on, when police raided its offices,
and Marco, his mother, father and brother were arrested and briefly jailed in
1995 on charges of phone-tapping and attempting to sell taped conversations.
They were never prosecuted, as it was clear that the police had entrapped them.


Their big break came nearly 10 years later, when M-3 was credited with
tracking down one of Spain’s most-infamous spies, Francisco Paesa, a notorious
arms dealer and double agent also known as “El Zorro” (The Fox) and “the man
with a thousand faces”. Paesa fled Spain after being charged with
money-laundering. His family claimed he died in Thailand in 1998 and arranged
for Gregorian masses to be sung for his soul for a month at a Cistercian
monastery in northern Spain. Acting for a client who claimed to have been
defrauded by Paesa’s niece, M-3 traced the fugitive to Luxembourg. At the behest
of the Spanish national newspaper El Mundo, the agency then traced him to Paris.
Paesa remains on the run, however.

“This was just one of our great achievements. Our biggest successes have
never been made public,” boasts Marco. “If you speak to other detectives in
Spain, I don’t think they will speak very highly of us because they are envious.
But as far as other detectives around the world are concerned, we are the
biggest, the most famous; the ones who work well.”

Again in collaboration with El Mundo, and again by following an illegal money
trail, M-3 last year tracked down the daughter of the wanted Nazi war criminal
Aribert Heim to a farm in Chile. “This was pro-bono work, and we only do it when
we have time,” says Marco. The hard-pressed detective did have time just before
Christmas, however, to launch a book he had co-written with a Spanish
journalist. The book claims that clients of M-3 sacked directors of a charity
involved in sponsoring children in the Third World, were victims of a plot to
discredit them by people associated with a Spanish branch of Oxfam who were
jealous that the public was giving them large donations. The sacked directors
are still under investigation for fraud.

It is perhaps because Marco has spent so much time collaborating with
journalists in the past that he feels so comfortable talking to the press – the
Spanish press, at least – about his investigation into Madeleine McCann. In
November he gave two lengthy interviews about the case, one to El Mundo and
another to a Barcelona newspaper, La Vanguardia.

In the interview with El Mundo, Marco talks touchingly about how his
six-year-old son asks him the same question every evening when he kisses him
goodnight: “Papa, have you found Maddie?” Because the little boy is learning to
read, the article continues, he knows that his father is “the most famous
detective in the world”.

But why, the journalist Juan Carlos de la Cal asks, would anyone in the UK,
“the country of Sherlock Holmes, with all its cold-war spies and one of the most
reliable secret services in the world”, have chosen M-3 to help? “Because we
were the only ones who proposed a coherent hypothesis about the disappearance of
their daughter,” Marco replies, explaining that M-3’s “principal line of
enquiry” at that time – the article was published on November 25 – was
“paedophiles”. He talks about how he “cried with rage” when he investigated on
the internet how paedophiles operate.

Apart from these comments made by Marco, little concrete is known about how
M-3 has been conducting its investigation. In the same article, Marco’s mother
says the agency, which she claims has located 23 missing children in the past,
has “20 or so” people working exclusively on the McCann case. M-3 was said at
that time to be receiving an average of 100 calls a day “from the four quarters
of the globe”, and to have half a dozen translators answering them in different
languages. The agency has distributed posters worldwide bearing Madeleine’s
picture with the telephone number of a dedicated hotline it has set up to
receive tip-offs. The interview was carried out just after Marco returned from a
two-week trip to Morocco, a country he describes as being known for
child-trafficking and a “perfect” place to hide a stolen child. The north
receives Spanish TV, he says, but the rest of Morocco knows nothing about the
affair.

Yet in an interview published three weeks earlier in the newspaper La
Vanguardia, Marco claimed that the agency had “around 40 people, here and in
Morocco” working on the case, on the hypothesis that the child was smuggled out
of Portugal, via the Spanish port of Tarifa, to Morocco, “where a blonde girl
like Madeleine would be considered a status symbol”. At that time he said he
didn’t want to think about paedophilia being involved. Asked how often his
agency contacts the McCanns with updates, Marco replies “daily”. He adds that
the fee that M-3 is charging for its services is not high. He says that it is
“symbolic”.

In the same article – accompanied by a photograph of Marco holding a Sherlock
Holmes-style hat – he says with absolute certainty that Madeleine is alive. “If
I didn’t think she was alive, I wouldn’t be looking for her!” At first he states
categorically that he will find her before M-3’s six-month contract runs out in
March. But also in the same article the journalist explains that Marco proposes
taking him out to dinner if he does not find the missing four-year-old before
April 30. Unless all such statements are “misunderstandings”, Marco is in danger
of leaving everyone with hopes that are not fulfilled.

When I start to touch on these themes – the claim, for instance, that M-3
traces around 300 missing people a year – Marco is quick to clarify. He says
that, of the 1,000 or so investigations his agency undertakes every year,
“between 100 and 200 involve English people who owe money and have fled England
for Spain; the same with Germans, etcetera, etcetera”. This makes it sound as if
much of the agency’s work is little more than aiding bailiffs or
debt-collecting, though I do not believe this to be the case. But when I ask him
to elaborate on the 23 missing children his mother is reported to have said the
agency has located in the past, Marco eases himself away from the table for the
first time, tilting far back in his chair. He cannot talk about that on the
grounds of confidentiality, he says. Shortly after this, his cousin Jose Luis,
who has sat mostly silent until now, calls time on the interview with a chopping
motion of his hand.

As I leave M-3’s office I pass another door discreetly announcing it is that
of a private Swiss bank. As I take a seat in the restaurant downstairs for
lunch, I notice Marco’s father, Francisco Marco Puyuelo, sitting close by. I nod
at him and smile. He does not smile back. I have heard unsettling reports about
Puyuelo.

He is rather menacing-looking, and I feel uncomfortable as he sits staring at
me, slowly spooning chocolate ice cream into his mouth.

It is easy to feel a little paranoid in Barcelona. Nearly every quarter seems
to have its own private detective agency. Offices are prominently advertised; on
the short ride in from the airport

I pass four. The city’s yellow-pages directory has six sides of listings.
According to Catalonia’s College of Private Detectives, the professional
association to which private detectives working in the region are obliged to
belong, of the estimated 2,900 licensed private eyes in Spain – around 1,500 of
them actively working – 370 are in Catalonia, mostly Barcelona.

The city has traditionally had a prestigious record for private
investigation. One of Spain’s most well-known detectives, Eugenio Velez-Troya,
was based in Barcelona, where he helped set up the first university course in
private investigation, covering subjects such as civil and criminal law,
forensic analysis and psychology.

One of the largest private detective agencies in Spain, Grupo Winterman,
founded by Jose Maria Vilamajo more than 30 years ago, is based in Barcelona,
though the company now has 10 offices in different cities with a staff of around
150. Vilamajo is the only detective prepared to talk on the record; the others
prefer to remain anonymous for fear of professional reprisal. He talks about how
Barcelona came to have so many private detectives, pointing out that competition
in the field is now so intense that it is pushing individual agencies to
“specialise”.

Vilamajo is the only private detective apart from Marco to receive me in a
spacious company boardroom, which, it strikes me, might be the model on which
Metodo 3, anticipating rapid expansion, is basing its new office setup.

I meet the other private eyes either in bars or in their more modest
premises, with more cloak-and-dagger decor, though nearly all have an impressive
array of certificates praising their work. One has the theme music from the film
The Godfather as a mobile-phone ring tone.

All talk of the “different way” M-3 has of operating from other agencies in
the city. Most of what they say I have no way of substantiating. Traditionally,
they say, M-3 has wined and dined clients more than others, sometimes holding
grand “round-table” suppers to which it invites important figures in the
community.

One ageing sleuth slides across the table a Spanish newspaper article
entitled “Detectives with marketing” , in case I might have missed it. A short
piece referring to the book Marco recently co-wrote about the alleged charity
conspiracy, it makes the point that the book “is another step in the direction
of incorporating marketing into the business of private investigation”.

When I ask what’s wrong with a business marketing itself, my question elicits
a long sigh. Suddenly I can see that underlying much of the rancour M-3’s rivals
feel towards it is a sense that they are not “old-school gumshoes” working in
the shadows. One of their criticisms of Marco is that “he doesn’t know much
about the street. He’s good at theory. He’s like a manager, always dressed up in
a suit and tie”.

So he has a team of others to do the legwork, I argue. Another long sigh.
“Not as many as he claims,” comes the response. On this point, all those I speak
to agree. None believes M-3’s claims that it has 40 people working on the hunt
for Madeleine, since the maximum number M-3 employs in its Barcelona office,
they believe, is a dozen, with another few in its Madrid branch.

But again, I point out, it could have any number of operatives working for it
in other countries, namely Portugal and Morocco.

My comment draws a weary smile. Metodo 3 company records for the six years up
to 2005 appear to show a decline in the number of permanent employees listed –
from 26 in 1999 to just 12 in 2005 – although there could be some accounting
explanation for this.

Perhaps the most worrying of the detectives’ concerns is the consistent
complaint that M-3 is using its involvement in the search for Madeleine to raise
its profile and that Marco’s statements about how close he is to finding the
child could be seriously prejudicing attempts to find out the truth. “If the
agency fails to solve the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance, that failure
will be forgotten in a few years,” said one. “But M-3 will be famous and,
ultimately, that is what they want.”

“They are making us look ridiculous,” says another detective. “The English
are looking at us and laughing and we are very worried, very upset about it.
They [M-3] are denigrating the ethics of our profession.”

To seek guidance on how private detectives are expected to behave, I visit
the president of Catalonia’s College of Private Detectives: Jose Maria Fernandez
Abril. After making the point that he is unable to speak about any individual
member of his professional association, he proceeds to carefully read me a
statement that begins: “Following the media impact of affairs in which
detectives belonging to the college are involved…” It clearly echoes the
concerns that others I have spoken to voice about the conduct of Metodo 3.

“No general conclusions should be drawn about the profession from the actions
of any individual,” Abril reads, before helpfully explaining that this means:
“You can’t go around saying you are the best in the world, implying that
everyone else is somehow worse.”

More importantly, there are repeated references to how members are obliged to
comply with the college’s strict code of conduct, which includes: not stating
with certainty the result of an investigation and not revealing information
about an investigation without agreeing it first with the client.

In other words, if M-3 was to argue that announcing just when it believed it
would find Madeleine would help its investigation, the announcement should have
been cleared with the McCanns. Given the deep dismay Gerry McCann is reported to
have expressed over Marco’s comments about how close the agency was to finding
his daughter’s kidnappers and about her being reunited with her family for
Christmas, it seems unlikely any agreement over such statements was ever made.


As I leave, Abril informs me that the college has in recent years organised
an annual “Night of the Detectives” supper. This year it will be held in March.
He invites me to attend. At the supper, various prizes are presented. Among them
is one for the fiction author they believe has contributed most to the public
understanding of investigative work. This year they have awarded the prize to
Dan Brown, author of the worldwide bestseller The Da Vinci Code.

They are a little hurt that he has not replied to, or even acknowledged,
their invitation to attend. All this could be almost funny if I were not
constantly aware that the reason I have come to Barcelona is because an
exhausted little girl enjoying a family holiday went to sleep in pink pyjamas
alongside her twin brother and sister on the night of May 3 last year, then
disappeared. The anguish and desperation of her parents account for the Spanish
detective-agency’s lucrative contract. The boasting and apparent false hopes fed
to them by Marco could yet prove to be his
downfall.
[/size]

____________________
"WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" - Rebekah Brooks to David Cameron

sharonl


Posts : 3567
Reputation : 419
Join date : 2009-12-29

View user profile http://www.cold2012.org.uk

Back to top Go down

Page 2 of 3 Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum