PORTUGUESE detectives confirmed last night they had made Christian B an official suspect over Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.
The 43-year-old was told he was now an ‘arguido’ in Portugal in his German prison cell yesterday morning according to an insider.
Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office and the country’s Policia Judiciaria have yet to make any official comment.
But a well-placed source said the decision was linked to Portugal’s statute of limitations which means the authors of crimes punishable by a maximum prison sentence of more than 10 years cannot generally be prosecuted there once 15 years has passed.
Madeleine vanished aged three from her family apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 2007.
It comes after Portuguese police said they would continue to investigate Maddie’s disappearance as the Met Police ended its probe.
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قال المصدر: “The legal grounds for making Christian B an arguido include the fact that he allegedly confessed to a friend he had snatched Madeleine and mobile phone records placed him in Praia da Luz the night she vanished.
“But it is obviously linked to the fact that the Portuguese authorities want to keep their options open with the 15-year deadline looming.”
Christian B stayed silent after being informed he had been made an arguido and declined to be questioned as part of the Portuguese criminal procedure.
It is not yet clear who told him he was being given arguido status but it happened after a formal international letter of request issued by Portuguese authorities to their German counterparts.
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The Portuguese move paves the way for him to be flown from Germany to the Algarve for formal questioning but there are not thought to be any immediate plans to try to quiz him in Portugal.
A spokesman for Portugal’s Attorney General’s Office, asked about the future of the probe led by a prosecutor based in the Algarve resort of Portimao, قالت: “The investigation is proceeding, with the inquiry not having a final conclusion yet.”
Portuguese police sources said closing their long-running ‘cold case’ review was “completely out of the question.”
Madeleine McCann’s family’s lawyer Rogerio Alves warned in July 2020 Portugal’s 15-year limit on prosecutions meant there was less than two years left to take action against Christian B, who German authorities were treating as their chief suspect.