Tuesday 12 December 2017

Maddie: Three former Ocean Club employees ‘suspects’

British police to quiz the trio

Missing Madeleine McCann
Missing Madeleine McCann

Gerard Couzens

BRITISH police suspect three former Ocean Club employees over Madeleine McCann's disappearance, Portugal's biggest-selling newspaper claimed today.

Leading daily Correio da Manha said Met officers met Portuguese detectives in Faro this week to ask them to quiz the unnamed trio, search their homes and probe their bank accounts.

The three suspects detectives in London have their eye on are thought to have been linked to a string of burglaries at the Algarve holiday complex before Madeleine went missing.

Portuguese police chiefs confirmed a three-hour meeting between Policia Judiciaria bosses and  a Met team led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood had taken place on Tuesday - but refused to say what had been discussed.

Correio da Manha reported today: "The British police want the Portuguese authorities to interrogate and search the homes of three former Ocean Club employees.

"They also requested access to the bank accounts of the three suspects to see if there were any large deposits made after the child disappeared."

The newspaper said the requests were contained in a second 'International Letter of Request' from British authorities which Portugal's Attorney General confirmed it had received last week and said it would be sending to a court in the Algarve resort of Portimao tasked with the reopened investigation into Madeleine's disappearance.

The Mark Warner-run Ocean Club had around 130 Portuguese employees and some 30 British employees when Madeleine went missing on May 3 2007.

All the British employees are understood to have left.

Last October it emerged Portuguese police had questioned the family of a former Ocean Club worker with a theft conviction.

Former colleagues say Euclides Monteiro, 40, was asked to leave his job at the holiday club where the McCanns stayed after taking tips meant to be shared with other waiters.

Portuguese police are said to discovered from mobile phone tracking that he was near the Ocean Club when Madeleine disappeared, even though he was no longer working there at the time and was living in Lagos a 15 minute drive away.

Monteiro, an immigrant from Cape Verde, died in a  tractor accident in 2009.

The three new suspects the Met Police are targeting are said to have had made a number of phone calls to each other around the time Madeleine disappeared.

There were reports of several break-ins at the Ocean Club in the weeks running up to her disappearance.

One theory is that burglars raided the McCanns' apartment and were panicked into snatching the youngster, then three, when she woke up.

The Policia Judiciaria and Portugal's Attorney General have both refused to comment on the content of Tuesday's meeting at the PJ's Faro HQ.

A spokesman for the PJ, the force investigating Madeleine McCann's disappearance in Portugal, said in a statement: "The PJ confirms a meeting has taken place in Faro between British and Portuguese authorities within the framework of the execution of an International Letter of Request.

"However the PJ will not be commenting on the content of this meeting."

Almeida Rodrigues, the PJ's National Director, added: "We cannot say anything else because when we cooperate with our British colleagues within the framework of an 'International Letter of Request', we are bound by professional secrecy."

The McCanns' lawyer in Portugal, Rogerio Alves, said he was aware Scotland Yard wanted to question three suspects but played down reports arrests were imminent, describing the idea as "improbable."

The Met Police team flew back to the UK yesterday afternoon/on Wednesday afternoon declining to comment.

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