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1352 to 1355 Witness statement of Jorge Manuel Rocha da Silva 2007.05.16

1356 to 1357 Emails to Romigen re: business cards

Witness statement 

Jorge Manuel Rocha da Silva

Date: 2007.05.16

Occupation: Businessman

Place of Work: Putos & Graudos, Lagos

He was born in Portugal but in 1967 (when he was 6) he went to the US with his parents and returned in 2003.

In November 2006 he moved to Lagos with his wife and two children.

As his wife already had some experience in clothes retail, they decided to open a shop Putos & Graudos, for selling children’s clothes.

He thinks that it was in February of last year that he got to know Michaela Walczuch who told him that she had a company – Romigen – which could produce business cards for the witness’ shop. He was given a sample (joined to the files) and the witness placed an order for the proposed product. He did not pay, but has till not received the cards, thinking they have not yet been completed.

Michaela told him that her partner in Romigen was a man called Robert who was in England. That this company had an Internet site where they published the cards they produced as well their real estate activities.

She said that she liked to talk with the witness and his son, that she liked his manner and because of the fact they had lived in the States, they had good ideas.

In subsequent conversations with Michaela, she got to know that one of his sons – J**** – was good at graphic design and had knowledge in the area of computers and could help them with the maintenance of the Romigen site. They exchanged ideas about this but nothing was ever made concrete.

Almost two months ago Michaela introduced Robert to the witness. They had some meetings where they discussed improvements to the site. They talked about the possibility of the witness becoming a partner in Romigen as they all had good ideas, but they never talked in terms of values. The conversations always related to the expansion and maintenance of the site.

They told him that the existing site had been done by a designer called Sergio or Sergy, of Russian nationality. That they wanted to reform the site and this work would be done by this individual (S), who would inform them of the cost. This cost would be met by Robert, Michaela and the witness.

However, at the current date and in spite of having met several times, they have never talked about the project process.

The witness knows that subsequently Robert went to the UK for a clinical examination, for defect to the eye and that there was the possibility of an operation to replace the eye.

He does not remember when Robert returned from the UK, but he knows that Robert and Michaela turned up at this shop on May 1st bank holiday. He remembers that the shop was closed that day.

On the 2nd May Robert and Michaela turned up at the shop as a surprise (they did not let him know previously) and arrived at 11.00 – 11.30. They, together with the witness and his son J*** went to the Taquiler Goncalves cafe to talk about themes relating to their previous discussions.

It was mainly in this meetings that Robert proposed that J**** should reconstruct the site. The latter said he would help with ideas but that he was not a website designer like Sergy whom Robert had told them about.

The witness makes it clear that neither he nor J***** knows Sergy.

They were in the cafe for about an hour until they left at 13.00.

On the following day May 3rd they met at the South West bar in Lagos marina at about 11.30. He does not remember whether Robert or Michaela phoned him to ask for the meeting or if they had agreed upon it the day before. The witness and J**** went to the place on foot. When they arrived Michaela and Robert were already there. They talked there for half an hour, but as it was very noisy, Robert suggested they went elsewhere. The four of them left in the VW transporter to Palmares Golf, about 5 minutes away by car, a place where the witness and his son had never been. They remained there conversing for about 3 hours, very much at the insistence of Robert. In spite of the witness and his son being hungry, Robert prolonged the conversation, saying that he was not hungry. Only at about 16.00 did Robert and Michaela drop the witness and his son near to their shop. On that day they had no further contact, neither personally or by phone.

On the following day, the witness heard from the news about what had happened to Madeleine.

After this occurrence, the witness and his son met Robert and Michaela again, but he does not remember the date. Naturally the conversation turned to the missing girl, Robert having been informed that he lived 100 metres away from the apartment from which she had disappeared.

Robert informed him that he was to be an interpreter for the police, and even if he did not want to be there was nothing he could do to avoid, that by law he could not refuse this. And this was the reason he gave for having to postpone some meetings they had planned. 

They met a further two or three times, once on the 10th or 11th May at 11.00 upon the suggestion of Michaela and in order not to always meet in cafe, Michaela suggested they met at her house. He cannot remember the exact name of the street but it was near the pharmacy Lacobrigense. They talked for about an hour. They went for lunch in the Bom Bom restaurant and returned to Michaela’s apartment until 16.30 – 17.00.

He did not notice any difference in Robert’s behaviour, or in his way of being, before and after the disappearance of Madeleine. 
Reads, ratifies, signs.

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