I’m aware that you do not post on this board but I understand that you are able to reply through Stevo.
As a retired solicitor, I am sure you are familiar with the need to ask questions before passing judgement. What follows is not an attempt to discredit you or the Madeleine Foundation, nor to imply any scam, but an attempt to get answers to a number of questions that concern me.
I understand that any action proposed by The Madeleine Foundation will not begin until the Portuguese legal system has taken its course. Only if no charges are brought will you ‘activate’ your proposed aims. It is therefore fundamentally wrong of people, like Stevo, to state on here that ‘The law isn’t doing anything’. Something is happening and to imply that it is nothing is an insult to the hard work and diligence of the Policia Judiciaria. It smacks of psychological pressure to ‘join up now’ whilst the dinner is still warm.
Anyway, my questions are as follows:
1) The Telegraph reports that the Madeleine Foundation is a fund. If so, why has it not been registered as a company with Companies House?
Companies House guidelines state the following about the use of certain words in company titles:
‘benevolent, foundation or fund – names that include any of these words will be refused if they unjustifiably give the impression that the company has charitable status. If the company is limited by guarantee and has a non-profit distribution clause in the memorandum of association, then the name will normally be approved.’
So, one would assume, based on this guidance that The Madeleine Foundation had been set up as a company ‘limited by guarantee’ – much the same as the McCanns did with Madeleine’s Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned Limited.
However, a quick search of registered company names reveals no result for ‘Madeleine Foundation’ or ‘The Madeleine Foundation’, either in established or pending company names. Could you explain why this should be so considering that The Madeleine Foundation has been established at least since the LSE conference in January?
2) At the moment, I, or anyone else, could register the name ‘The Madeleine Foundation’ with Companies House. Does that bother you? Why would you be so cavalier and unprofessional given that you are committing yourself to such wide-ranging and long term goals, as stated in your 7 aims?
3) If there has been no company registered then I presume you’ve made no attempt to trademark the business name either. I’ve some experience of trademarks and I’m 99% certain you would be refused the trademark because it is so similar to Madeleine’s Fund.
Maybe you’re not bothered about trademarks but the scope of the aims you’re seeking to implement will take years. Are you not really serious about protecting that?
4) My understanding is that a person can set themselves up as a self employed sole trader but that after 3 months they must inform the Inland Revenue. Given that donations have already been received, how have these been accounted for within the The Madeleine Foundation set up?
5) I believe you describe The Madeleine Foundation as a ‘democratic membership organisation’ – what on earth is that? It sounds rather grand but an office tea club could successfully argue similar claims.
6) Why did you choose the name ‘The Madeleine Foundation’? Use of the words ‘fund’ and ‘foundation’ give very clear implications that a company has charitable status. Yours clearly does not. I’m afraid it just comes across as being a bit weasly and misleading and, dare I say it, consistent with the actions of the McCanns.
7) You have proposed a yearly subscription fee of £10.00. Why are you seeking yearly subscriptions? Is this to fund your long term aims? If so, will you be promoting all those aims with as much vigour as you devote to the McCann ‘neglect’ issue?
Eight) You have an established bank account, presumably under the name ‘The Madeleine Foundation’ – as that is the name you request on cheques. How did you explain your ‘business’ to the bank? Did they not ask for evidence that you were a bona fide company? If so, again, why is there no company name registered?
9) If the Policia Judiciaria charge the McCanns with abandonment, will you refund donations? I understand that, much like Madeleine’s Fund, your aims are wider than simply bringing a charge against the McCanns but, in my opinion, it would be solely the prospect of bringing charges against the McCanns that people would be donating towards. Of course, people must read the small print before donating but there’s no small print in newspaper articles.
10) Who are the people behind The Madeleine Foundation? Much like there was with seymour’s ‘madeleinesearch’ site, there seems to be a hazy reference, or implication towards a group of people being involved but no clear disclosure of who those people are. I will ask you a direct question: Are Seymour and/or Stevo involved in The Madeleine Foundation? You may say that is none of my business but given that you’re asking people to make a financial commitment to your cause then it should be in the public domain.
11) Your previous action against the McCanns was unsuccessful, why would this further proposed action be any different?
12) The Madeleine Foundation has been in existence since at least January. Why, 6 months later, have you still not got an operational website?
12) These are your 7 aims and my comments:
a) to make every effort to ensure that Kate and Gerry McCann are prosecuted for their admitted abandoning of their children six nights in a row in Praia da Luz
Yes, very good. But this is what the Policia Judiciaria have been doing for 14 months with greater resources, knowledge and skills than you could possibly possess. Why do you think you would have more success in bringing such a charge than them?
b) to change the law in whatever way is needed in order to send out a clear message to all parents that leaving young children on their own is never acceptable, and to strive for the adoption of a ‘Madeleine’s Law’ with its key message: “Never leave young children on their own”
Madeleine’s Law? Where did that come from? Have you registered the business or protected the trademark? The domain names madeleineslaw.co.uk, along with .com and .org extensions have been registered but yield no result when searched. Were these names purchased by The Madeleine Foundation? If so, are you cyber-squatting them?
c) to pursue – in conjunction with others – the truth about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance on 3 May 2007, and in particular to encourage Kate and Gerry McCann and the friends who were with them in Praia da Luz to tell the truth about Madeleine’s disappearance
Mmm, I think you can cross this one off your list! How do you intend to ‘encourage’ the McCanns and Tapas 7 to tell the truth? Do you fully appreciate what is at stake here? They haven’t just stolen some sweeties from the corner shop.
d) to investigate the facts behind the extent of British government involvement in this case and the reasons for it
You mean the British government that approved the rogatory letter and has severed all ties with the McCanns? Yes, the government were hoodwinked and the McCanns were courted by Gordon Brown in a desire to show people, unsuccessfully, that he had the common touch. But beyond that there is nothing. How do you propose to ‘investiagte the facts’?
e) to ensure that the media, in particular the British media, report this case accurately and give due weight to the opinions of so many of the general public that the McCanns are withholding the truth about Madeleine’s disappearance
The British media are not the slightest bit interested in the McCanns innocence or guilt. To suggest that they will suddenly decide to reflect the opinions of the general public as a result of you undertaking some unspecified actions is naive. They will reflect those opinions when they consider that they will sell more papers that way. It will be a business decision not an emotional one.
f) to demand a full-scale investigation by the relevant authorities into the activities of the Find Madeleine Fund private trust and to encourage the trustees of that fund to give full particulars about its income and expenditure to the public who have donated so generously to it with the express purpose of finding Madeleine
I trust the British police to undertake/already be undertaking this work. The way in which Madeleine’s Fund has been set up ensures that they do not need to disclose their accounts in any great detail to the public. Disgraceful, I know, but unfortunately true.
g) to generally promote the welfare of children, in particular by ensuring that parents are aware of the psychological needs of their children and ensuring that the relevant authorities take appropriate action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Very noble but desperately woolly and completely beyond your scope. How exactly are you planning to ‘promote’ the welfare of children and ‘ensure’ that parents toe-the-line?
13) There then follows a statement that sets off alarm bells in my head and makes me incredibly angry:
‘The Madeleine Foundation is only for those committed to achieving our above aims.’
This is classic emotional psycho-pressure to force people to ‘join now’ and send money. What you are effectively saying here is that unless you donate you are not really committed to finding truth and justice for Madeleine. You are presenting The Madeleine Foundation as an exclusive club for members who are ‘the real, committed ones’. Absolute bullsh*t!
I’ve raised a number of questions here and hope you will find time to address them in full.
Hat-Tip to 3As forum