Just five hours in May

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann?

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Latham Brian Kennedy

source: McCannFiles.com In September 2007 Billionaire businessman Brian Kennedy was revealed to be the McCann's mysterious benefactor.

(Remark: Often confused with Brian Kennedy, McCanns Extended Family member with same name, who is a Co-director of Madeleine-Fund.)

Founder and Owner of the →Latium Group

His confidant and Lawyer Edward Smethurst is Co-Director of the Madeleine-Fund.

Owner of rugby club →Sale Sharks

(See also→Sale Sharks News;→Wikipedia Sale Sharks; See also: Kennedy →Buying Rangers?)

See more details at →McCannFiles

“Revealed: Cheshire millionaire funding Maddie campaign, 22 September 2007: Millionaire businessman Brian Kennedy tonight confirmed he is providing financial backing to the parents of missing Madeleine McCann. Mr Kennedy, who owns the Latium Group and rugby union team Sale Sharks, said he felt “compelled” to support Gerry and Kate McCann following the accusations made against them. He said in a statement: “In light of the quite literally incredible accusations against Gerry and Kate McCann, which are clearly exacerbating their emotional torture, I felt compelled to offer, along with other like-minded businessmen, financial support and the full logistical support of the Latium team. That support is principally our in-house lawyer Ed Smethurst and (official spokesman) Clarence Mitchell.”

See article Daily Mail →Revealed Mystery benefactor

Extract: “Revealed: Mystery benefactor funding Madeleine's parents is a millionaire double-glazing magnate The mystery benefactor behind Kate and Gerry McCann's fight back is a double-glazing magnate with a £250million fortune. Brian Kennedy, who made his money from →Everest windows, has pledged to meet all the growing costs of 'Team McCann', the nickname given to the array of legal and media advisers supporting the family. A senior source close to Mr and Mrs McCann said Mr Kennedy, 47, decided to act after being moved by the plight of the missing girl's parents when they were made formal suspects in her disappearance. Mr Kennedy is believed to have had no previous contact with the McCanns. He made his offer shortly after it was made clear the McCanns would not be drawing on the £1million donated to the Find Madeleine Fund to pay for legal fees and media advice.

The couple had feared they would be forced to sell their home in →Rothley, Leicestershire, as they struggled to rebut the leaks and allegations coming from the Portuguese authorities. However, with Mr Kennedy's help, the McCanns have in recent weeks been able to take on former BBC reporter Clarence Mitchell and lawyers →Kingsley Napley to fight their case. One of Britain's leading lawyers, Michael Caplan, QC, has also been employed. Last week the couple's Portuguese legal team was strengthened with their lawyer Carlos Pinto de Abreu being joined by one of the country's brightest legal brains, Rogerio Alves. Ed Smethurst, the in-house lawyer and legal director of Mr Kennedy's plastics firm, Latium, will also be on hand to assist the family. Despite not having a background in criminal law, it is understood his legal acumen and contacts could be of value. In addition, funds will be made available for the continued efforts by the McCanns to find Madeleine. A leading international security firm founded by former SAS soldiers has been taken on to 'do the work that the Portuguese have failed to do'. In a move that underlines the couple's despair at the Portuguese police's handling of the inquiry, they have turned to Control Risks Group, which began 30 years ago by helping kidnap victims in Latin America. Using CRG is costing tens of thousands of pounds a week. The McCanns' benefactor – who shares his name with Kate's uncle, but to whom he is not related – is the son of an Edinburgh window cleaner, who was brought up a Jehovah's Witness.

…The McCanns are believed to earn about £120,000 a year as doctors, but have not worked since May when Madeleine vanished. They were widely assumed to be dependent on a £100,000 donation made by Sir Richard Branson. But Sir Richard was just one of several high-profile millionaires who have given them financial support. Others have included Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and entrepreneurs → Sir Tom Hunter, Sir Philip Green and easyJet founder →Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Most, however, have refused to get involved in their legal costs because of the 'sensitivities' of the investigation. Last night Mr Kennedy said that he had been happy to step in. He said: 'In light of the quite literally incredible accusations against Gerry and Kate McCann, which are clearly exacerbating their emotional torture, I felt compelled to offer, along with other like-minded businessmen, financial support and the full logistical support of the Latium team. 'That support is principally our in-house lawyer Ed Smethurst and Clarence Mitchell. This will relieve the McCanns of the daily pressure of co-ordinating the legal teams that will expedite the clearing of Gerry and Kate's names, allowing all parties to refocus on finding Madeleine.'

It is believed that Mr Mitchell, who resigned from the Cabinet Office's media monitoring team to take up the McCanns' cause, will work for Mr Kennedy once his job with Madeleine's parents comes to an end. Mr Mitchell's predecessor, Justine McGuinness, quit her position eight days ago to launch her bid to become a Liberal Democrat MP. She has been accused by some in the Find Madeleine Trust of filing 'high' expenses and it is believed that she did not have a great relationship with the McCanns. However, accusations that she was fired by the McCanns have been denied by sources close to the family.

Meanwhile, the McCanns have asked search and rescue experts CRG to launch an investigation independent of the Portuguese police. Madeleine's parents believe detectives have failed to follow up dozens of crucial leads and have told friends that the advice and logistical support from CRG is worth the huge overheads. The security group has a small team in Portugal. However, a key strand of the group's investigation has been to follow up on an early sighting of Madeleine in Morocco, made just five days after she disappeared from her parents' apartment in Praia da Luz.

…The McCanns are in constant contact with senior representatives of the company, according to a source close to the family. They turned to CRG after the Portuguese police began to move their attentions away from the search for Madeleine. CRG, based in London and with high-profile connections to the Foreign Office, is held in high regard worldwide and has more than 600 employees, many of them former Special Forces members. CRG declined to comment, saying: 'All our dealings with clients are highly confidential.'