Clifford 'not happy' with Robert Murat, no longer advising 'arguido' suspect

Max Clifford has written a letter to PRWeek expressing his disappointment in the actions of Robert Murat, the man implicated in the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Clifford: not happy
Clifford: not happy

Clifford said he was disappointed in Murat using his lawyers' PR agency (The PR Office), when he had previously advised the Briton for free. The PR Office said Murat had 'changed strategy'.

Murat yesterday received a substantial payout, of around £600,000, from the British press which had made various unfounded accusations towards him. As yet, Murat has not been found guilty of any charges related to Madeleine's disappearance.

The PR Office was brought in to handle the Murat case against various British newspapers.

Here Clifford's statement follows in full:

'Last summer, when his arguido status was put in place by the Portuguese authorities, it signalled the start of a character assassination of Robert Murat by sections of the Portuguese and British media. I was approached by Robert's family who claimed that Robert and they were having their lives destroyed by this coverage and desperately sought my help.

I totally sympathised with them and agreed to help them just as I have helped many others when facing the worst excesses of the British media. They made it clear that neither Robert nor themselves could afford to pay me and that it was impossible for Robert to work. Nevertheless, I agreed to do whatever I could to help their plight whilst explaining that because of Robert's arguido status I was unable to officially represent him.

Together with Nicola Phillips from my office, I spent a huge amount of time and effort over many months talking to Robert and his Aunt Sally, often late at night and doing everything possible to help them and stop the unjustifiable media onslaught.

So you can imagine this week how I felt when Robert admitted to me he was paying a PR firm that he had been introduced to by his legal team. Having worked free of charge and in the words of Robert and his Aunt Sally, "been both wonderfully supportive and successful", I was not happy.

In spite of this I am very pleased with what we at MCA did for Robert and his family, as many of the things written about him without so much as a shred of evidence were totally disgusting.

Robert continues to have a huge battle on his hands to clear his name and to get his life back on track and I wish him and his family every success in achieving this.

For now, I'll concentrate my time on my many appreciative paying clients and my continued battle with prostate cancer.'

In response PR Office founder Shimon Cohen said his agency was 'engaged by [Murat's legal team] Simons Muirhead & Burton to provide litigation PR support for yesterday's hearing'.

'The change of circumstances in this case brought about a change of strategy,' he continued. 'Max Clifford Associates was advised by Simons Muirhead & Burton in a timely and appropriate manner that their services were not required this week, during the days leading up to the Statement in Open Court or in the immediate aftermath.'

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