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The disgraced former detective who was removed from the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has claimed she may have been taken by a paedophile who knew the family.
Ex-police officer Goncalo Amaral led the investigation in 2007 but was later removed from the case.
He made Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance before being sacked for constant public verbal attacks on British police.
Mr Amaral later published a book falsely claiming the McCanns killed Madeleine accidentally then covered it up.
He has now told an Australian news podcast that one line of inquiry was the involvement of a paedophile ring with links to people close to the McCann family, but without the McCanns’ knowledge.
Mr Amaral told 9news podcast “Maddie” that UK police didn’t follow up this line of inquiry, claiming they withheld it from their Portuguese counterparts.
He said: “The British authorities tried to conceal the statement and nothing was done about this statement.
"They were not followed up. Nobody investigated anything related to them."
He claimed British police told his team they held “absolutely nothing” of significance when asked about information on a potential person of interest.
"Of course, when the British police stated that they did not have any information, they already had the statements," Mr Amaral told the podcast.
"So, there is this issue with the British police concealing information that they already had.
"When the statements finally arrived, they came mixed up with other papers.”
British police have declined to comment on Mr Amaral’s accusations.
Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007, from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal.