LISBON, Portugal – Portuguese police denied Monday that they leaked details of their investigation into the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann.
A Spanish television channel last week published what it claimed was testimony given to police by Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who are official suspects in the case.
Portuguese detectives, known as the Policia Judiciaria, say they are still investigating the girl's disappearance from a vacation resort in Portugal on May 3 last year, shortly before her fourth birthday. In Portugal, ongoing police investigations are covered by strict secrecy laws prohibiting the release of information.
"The Policia Judiciaria makes clear that it is completely false that the content of the (Spanish) news report is taken from the investigation, which is still covered by judicial secrecy laws," the statement from police headquarters in Lisbon said.
The McCanns said through their spokesman at the time of the report that they were angry about the leak because it appeared to be an attempt to smear them.
The police statement Monday rejected the accusation, saying police "regret the spokesman's unfounded comments, especially at a time when significant activities pertaining to the investigation are taking place."
Police in Britain last week re-interviewed friends the McCanns dined with on the night when Madeleine disappeared. A three-member team of detectives from Portugal listened in before returning to Portugal on Friday.
The McCanns' spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
The police statement provided no details about the investigation. Police have given no indication whether they intend to bring charges against the McCanns.
One of the McCanns' Portuguese lawyers said earlier this month the couple could be given access to the case file from April 14. He argued that in his view the official secrecy period would expire on that date.
However, the police statement did not refer to that deadline and officials declined to comment further on the case.