Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

07 - Metodo 3 : Pieds nickelés ?

On a maintes fois observé que les MC avaient montré autant de talent pour s'assurer les services des meilleurs avocats sur la place publique que d'impéritie en matière d'enquêteurs privés, incompétents ou malhonnêtes ou les deux à la fois.  
Les premiers furent les Espagnols de Método3 pour qui l'affaire MC fut une vraie poule aux oeufs d'or. Malgré leurs rodomontades, ils ne furent capables de rien mais virent leur contrat de 6 mois renouvelé, peut-être pour d'autres raisons que la recherche de Madeleine proprement dite. Il semble qu'il y ait eu des "indélicatesses" (voir en bas de la page), mais Madeleine's Fund ne voulut pas sévir. 
Les seconds, sous l'étiquette de Oakley International et la baguette de Kevin Halligen, produisirent un rapport et des portraits-robots condamnés à rester enfermés dans un tiroir sous peine de sanction. KH par ailleurs, entre autres victimes escroqua ses agents et MF. Là encore les MC ne pipèrent mot. 
Enfin il y eut Edgar et Cowley, deux acolytes vite réduits au premier, qui, après avoir déniché une supposée acheteuse d'enfant sosie de Victoria Beckham, à Barcelone, sans avoir effectué la moindre investigation de base, eut l'imprudence d'organiser une conférence de presse pour conter ses exploits et échoua lamentablement.
Malgré ces désastres cuisants, les MC ne semblent pas s'être demandés une seconde si ces privés n'étaient pas finalement contreproductifs.
Peut-être se sont-ils tout simplement montré naïfs. Mais Madeleine's Fund n'est-il pas administré par des gens adéquats, engagés en matière de prise de décision et non prêts à entériner toute initiative ? 
Once is a mistake, twice is a choice, three times is a pattern

Lorsque les MC sélectionnèrent Método3, une petite entreprise familiale de détectives de Barcelone, fondée à une date incertaine par Maria Marco, dite Marita Fernandez Lado, le directeur, Francisco Marco, déclarait un taux de succès de 100% en matière de récupération d'enfants disparus. Telle n'était pas toutefois la spécialité de l'agence, focalisée sur la fraude financière des sociétés sans grand succès, semble-t-il, car l'effectif était passé de 40 employés à douze.
Le recours à des "privés", pour les avocats des MC, visait à contrecarrer la nouvelle piste qui avait conduit la PJ à modifier le statut des MC. Un contrat de 6 mois fut signé confidentiellement en septembre 2007, juste après le retour des MC au Royaume-Uni. Bien que MF ait été alimenté par la compassion du public, ce dernier n'en sut rien avant le 24 octobre (le 26 octobre, dans le blog de Gerald MC). Pourtant, sur le site officiel, John MC, le frère de Gerald, faisait savoir le 15 septembre que de nouvelles initiatives se préparaient qui rappelleraient à la planète que Madeleine avait disparu. Le budget était certainement très inférieur aux 300 mille livres débloquées par le fonds pour payer les services de base de Método3, l’excédent étant financé par le millionnaire Brian Kennedy, qui avait jeté son dévolu sur l'agence. On ignore pourquoi les agissements de Método3 restèrent-ils secrets pendant un mois et demi.






Francisco Marco : Nous savons qui a enlevé Madeleine
12-12-2007 - Metro


C'est l'affaire de rêve pour tout détective privé, celle qui marquera un avant et un après dans sa carrière. Les MC ont confié à un jeune Catalan, Francisco Marco, la tâche de retrouver leur fille que la PJ ne cherchait pas assez vigoureusement. Le monde eut pendant un bref instant les yeux braqués sur FM qui se vantait de savoir qui avait enlevé l'enfant.

Q : Do you know where Maddie is yet?
FM : We know who abducted her, but not where she is. We believe that she is in an area not far from the Iberian Peninsula and from the north of Africa. And we have a quite certain idea of who she is with.

Q : With whom?
FM : That is a question that I cannot answer because we are locating all the proof beyond irrefutability in order to present them to the authorities and proceed with the arrests. 

Q : Does this mean then that this is a kidnapping and that she is alive?
FM : I have always made it clear publicly that the child is alive. I cannot enter my office every morning and talk to my people without telling them the girl is alive. I have to believe in this 100%, because I know how to look for people that are alive, not dead people.

Q : But, have you got any proof?
FM : No, we have none. We have evidence of the child’s movements after her abduction. We know that the girl was alive the day after her disappearance.

Q : And then what happened? Did the girl and her supposed abductor leave Portugal?
FM : There is no certainty that the girl left Portugal. However, there is certainty that the abductors left Portugal in a determined moment.

Q : So, the fact that she is alive is more a hope than a reality?
FM : We speak of certainty because we know which group could have her or could have proceeded to abduct her to sell her on to a third party.

Q : Do you completely discard the economic motive, a kidnapping carried out by professionals? 
FM : Obviously. This is a middle class British family, without economic resources. A professional kidnapper would already have made some move with Maddie. They would have returned her or they would have left her. One of the things that enables us to believe she is alive is that the girl would be worth more each day for them.

Q : What are we talking about? A sect, a criminal group, paedophiles?
FM : In principal, paedophiles.

Q : Could they be Spanish?
FM : I don’t think so.   

Q : Why did the Algarve police sustain that Madeleine was dead and blame her parents?
FM : Well, a few days ago, the same Portuguese police expressed that the McCanns had nothing to do with it and that they were sure that a paedophile had entered the room and killed her.

Q : Do you also believe that they are innocent?
FM : You only have to be with them for 5 minutes to know they had nothing to do with it.  

Q : How would you explain the traces of blood that were supposedly found in the room and the hairs that were found in the boot of the car?
FM : There is no proof up until now of traces of blood in the room. And apparently, in the boot there is a trace of a micro-hair that could be Maddie’s. But that would be completely logical and normal as it was the family’s car.

Q : Do you think she will be back with her parents before Christmas?
FM : I hope so.

Q : When will we know the dénouement?
FM : We have a six month contract to find that. We have always said that we want to comply with our contract by finding the little girl.

Q : What is your opinion of the media circus the case has generated?
FM : I think it is very good that the serious press and the journalists who know about these issues talk and write what they want, because they are well-documented. What seems bad to me is that the tabloid press does it.

Q : How many cases similar to that of Madeleine are there in Spain?
FM : There are no statistics about that, but many, hundreds every year.

Q : Is this the most difficult case you have faced?
FM : It is the case with the most pressure, by the press and by my own family. When I get home, my children ask me “Have you found Maddie yet, Dad?”




 Comment recruter un enquêteur privé ?




Madeleine McCann and Método 3: Private eyes, public lies
10.02.2008 - Christine Toomey (The Sunday Times)

Grisé par un salaire de 50 mille livres par mois, plus les frais, Francisco Marco, qui fut sélectionné en raison de son hypothèse, la connection pédophile,  oublia le ressort de toute enquête privée, le secret, et céda publiquement à la tentation de réunir l'enfant à sa famille pour Noël. Il fit produire un croquis de l'homme sans visage signalé par Jane TB, coupable idéal car il fournissait à tout le monde un alibi, mais sans crédibilité selon la PJ. La journaliste Christine Toomey le rencontra dans les nouvelles installations que l'argent coulant à flots lui permit d'occuper sur l'un des boulevards les plus en vue de la capitale catalane.  

 
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”. (1)

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. (2) 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.



Fanfaronnades

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. (3) Pourtant, dans les interviews de mai 2008, Kate MC défendit les propos de Francisco Marco en soulignant qu'il avait seulement dit "espérer".

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.

(1) On ne sait à partir de quels fondements le spin doctor des MC, Clarence Mitchell, s'autorisa de telles affirmations. Il ne fut ni le premier ni le dernier, dans cette affaire, à ne pas prendre la peine d'ouvrir un atlas pour voir que les rivages portugais ne sont pas baignés par la Méditerranée, que la faune et la flore diffèrent, que les langues aussi, bien que toutes deux romanes, pour ne rien dire des cultures. Les autorités portugaises ne s'avisèrent que trop tard de la présence de Control Risks Group qui réussit à faire déposer pour son compte les principaux protagonistes de l'affaire, en particulier Kate MC qui avait sollicité, en raison de sa fragilité émotionnelle, d'être dispensée d'un second entretien, et l'obtint.
(2) Ces diplômes existent-ils ou non ?
(3) Pourtant, dans les interviews de mai 2008, Kate MC défendit les propos de Francisco Marco en soulignant qu'il avait seulement dit "espérer".  


 


Le rideau de fumée
Traduction de Wicksy Julián Peribañez et Antonio Tamarit on publié en 2014  La Cortina de Humo (The Smokescreen) dont un chapître concerne la fraude dont a été victime Madeleine's Fund qui payait les frais de Metodo3, un point sur lesquels les auteurs ont alerté MF qui n'a pas manifesté d'intérêt. 

Both authors  worked for Método 3 on the Madeleine case, Antonio mostly in Morocco, and Julián in Portugal. As Julián speaks English he was used as an interpreter in meetings with the McCanns, and so privy to inside information. The authors claim that right from the start Francisco Marco, the head of Método 3, saw the investigation as an opportunity to make a lot of money out of Madeleine. He consistently lied about the number of detectives working on the case, claiming there were 20 when at most there were 4. Consequently the claims for expenses, travel costs etc were fraudulently based on 20 detectives. FM also saw the case as an excellent way of getting free publicity for the agency, and courted the Spanish and international media to that end. The hotline was also fraudulent, as calls were diverted to the Método 3 office and answered by detectives with poor language skills, rather than being handled by employees who spoke a wide range of languages, as claimed.

The first contact was when Julián phoned the Kennedys in the first week of December 2013 and spoke to Brian's son Patrick to try to organise a meeting (a long and friendly conversation). Because of financial problems (presumably Julián's) and Christmas commitments they decided to postpone the meeting until January. He then sent an email to Brian Kennedy on 8th January 2014 in which he explained why he wanted to meet him, to show proof that they had been defrauded and work out a strategy as to what to do next. He got a confirmation that the email was received but no reply. After sending the email twice more, he got an out of office message saying that BK was in America and enquiries should be addressed to Ed Smethurst.

It then took Julián four emails to get Ed Smethurst's email, and when he wrote got an answer that it would be difficult for them to get involved in a lawsuit against Método 3 because they had to concentrate on looking for Madeleine, or at least finding out who abducted her. Finding this response hard to believe, he wrote back to Smethurst in his capacity as a director of the Find Madeleine fund. In the book he reproduces the email he got in reply in full:

Dear Julián,

I have just had a phone conference with our advisors. As you know the Metropolitan Police are now in charge of the investigation. Because of this, the Trust has agreed that we will not meet or discuss the investigation with any private detectives whilst the Met's investigation continues. This is why we can't meet with you.However, if you have any information that could help the Trust or the investigation, please feel free to send it by email and it will be gratefully received. 

Julián was alarmed at getting such a cold, distant answer and, disappointed, wrote another email to the fund, again reproduced in full in the book. The gist of it is:
So although we've said we want to help you uncover a fraud that you were subjected to, you don't want to meet with us or help us unmask the agency that stole money that was intended to find Madeleine McCann, money that was given by the warm-hearted general public and ended up in the pockets of M3. Please, I need to know if this is correct, because it's hard to understand your position, so I need to know for sure if I can count on your cooperation.

He didn't get any answer.