A couple accused of trying to extort money from Madeleine McCann’s family will appear in court today, Spanish police said.
An Italian man and a Portuguese woman were arrested after a raid on their home in Sotogrande, near Algeciras, in Spain.
They are suspected of attempting to extort cash from the McCanns by promising them information about their missing four-year-old daughter.
Yesterday a judge in nearby Torremolinos imposed a secrecy order on the continued detention of the pair meaning police can no longer comment on the investigation.
In a statement issued shortly after the arrests, Spanish police confirmed: “Police began to investigate them after getting information that they had tried to contact Madeleine’s parents to collect a reward.”
Chemello was arrested on an international warrant issued from France, where he was wanted for alleged association with a crime group, police said.
He had served an 18-month sentence in France for child mistreatment, specifically his daughter, it said.
A Spanish police spokeswoman said the warrant itself had nothing to do with the McCann case and Italian diplomats in Spain had been told by Spanish authorities that the man had no connection with the disappearance.
Pereira Vaz was detained because of her association with Chemello, and there was no warrant for her arrest, the spokeswoman said.
The couple were arrested by officers from the anti-kidnap group Antisecuestros de la Unidad de Delitos Especializados y Violentos, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.
It is 58 days since Madeleine was snatched from her bed as she slept in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
Her parents Kate and Gerry have stayed in Portugal since she disappeared, insisting they will not leave until she is found.
Today the couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, said they did not want to comment on the court case.