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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# Tick tock
Endgame: The Kinahan cartel is living on borrowed time after today's dramatic announcement
Today’s seismic announcement has put the cartel on notice.

WITH THE CLICK of a button, three faces known well to police forces around the world were splashed across a giant screen.

The names and photographs of three men responsible for leading a criminal organisation similar in impact to the Russian mafia and the Camorra in Naples were now out in the open: Christy Kinahan, Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan Junior. 

For years, the Kinahan cartel has presided over a drugs operation estimated by US law enforcement to be valued at around €1 billion. The gang’s inner machinations were also kept secret, their business interests were clandestine; they prided themselves on going under the radar.

Those days are now over.

In Dublin’s City Hall this morning, senior ranking members of multiple police forces gathered for a press conference.

The Drugs Enforcement Agency from the US, the National Crime Agency from the UK and Europol were all represented.

Journalists who have followed the story of the Kinahans over the years had heard that something big was coming down the line. However, to see the faces of three of the nation’s most infamous criminals plastered across a screen for all to see took the assembled media by surprise.

Ireland’s strict defamation laws means there are limits to what can be published about people’s involvement in crime. Until now, a lot of what was known about the Kinahans and their associates had to remain unpublished. 

A reward of $5 million “for information leading to the financial disruption of the Kinahan Organised Crime Organisation or the arrest and/or conviction” of each of the three men has been offered.

The US Treasury also imposed multiple sanctions on the cartel. US banks and companies are barred from doing business with the three men, or with four other men named as their associates today. Three businesses associated with the Kinahans were also named on the sanctions list by the Treasury Department 

All seven men will be banned from boarding US airlines.

The cartel has been going about its bloody work for decades. However, thanks to today’s announcement, those days are numbered. 

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll has been working to bring down the cartel for years. There were many time in the last few years when O’Driscoll was asked specifically about the actions of the cartel, but he would always sidestep using the names of members. 

Today, it was like he could not stop using their names – a form of self-imposed omerta was removed and now gardaí can speak openly about the Kinahan gang, who they are and what they are accused of. 

It was Greg Gatjanis of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, one of a number of US officials in Ireland for today’s briefing, who described how, due to the sanctions, the cartel has joined the ranks of some of the most high-profile gangs in the world.

download11 US Treasury Information regarding the reward. US Treasury

“As of today, the Kinahan transnational criminal organisation joins the ranks of Italy’s Camorra, Mexico’s Zetas, Japan’s Yakuza and Russia’s Thieves In Law.”

The magnitude of today’s announcement can not be overstated: the Kinahan cartel is living on borrowed time. Daniel Kinahan, who fled to Dubai several years ago, can no longer say that he is a legitimate businessman wrongly painted by the international media as a crime lord.

He will no longer be able to say he’s just a boxing promoter looking out for the best interests of his fighters. 

Mere weeks ago, he was pictured standing beside Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti, a Provincial Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Government of Punjab, Pakistan.

Kinahan was once again trying to portray himself as a legitimate businessman, someone who meets with politicians, someone trying to save the sport of boxing. The world can now see the truth. 

High-profile sports figures were asked to think twice about supporting Kinahan.
Speaking specifically about the sporting world, Commissioner Drew Harris said that what was once implicit is now explicit and asked legitimate boxing firms to consider “is this something they want to be involved in?”. 

Attempts will now be made by the crime gang, according to well-placed sources, to move as much money as possible away from those named today. International police forces expect more shell corporations as well as new businesses to emerge in the coming days and weeks as the Kinahans try to move as much money as possible.

It’s not just the Kinahan family themselves who find themselves in trouble; it’s the inner network of alleged money launderers and enforcers.

Screenshot 2022-04-12 12.57.57 PM US Treasury The hierarchy of the Kinahan cartel. US Treasury

Others named by Greg Gatjanis included:

  • Ian Thomas Dixon (32) – accused of overseeing drug-related payments to the organisation
  • Sean McGovern (36) – accused of being a close advisor to Daniel Kinahan on “all criminal activites” and managing its communications
  • Bernard Clancy (44)- accused of being a key organisation member who distributes wages and payments for the organisation
  • John Francis Morrissey (62) – accused of money laundering and serving as the organisation’s enforcer and facilitator of illicit drug shipments from South America.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) was also represented at today’s press conference.

Its deputy director of investigations, Matt Horne, described how his officers have prevented eight threats to life – murders and punishment beatings – on the streets of the UK and elsewhere by sharing intelligence with law enforcement partners.

Horne also touched on the recent conviction of Thomas Bomber Kavanagh, a senior Kinahan figure who was jailed for 21 years for his role in importing significant quantities of drugs into the UK

Horne said: “We target criminals who cause the most harm, are the most violent, those who exploit the vulnerable, and dominate communities. The Kinahan crime group fall into all of those categories.

“They have transcended international boundaries – distributing multi-million
pound shipments of drugs throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe,
and have been engaging in firearms trafficking and money laundering.

“They thought they were untouchable but the sanctions imposed today will
be a huge blow to the Kinahans. It has cut them off from the global financial
system, making them toxic to legitimate businesses and financial institutions,
and will cause other criminals to think twice about doing business with them.”

024Protecting Organised Crime Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking today. Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Attention now turns to the UAE, where Kinahan has been living since he fled Spain several years ago.

The Journal has long attempted to speak to the Dubai police in relation to Kinahan. Multiple attempts have been made to get a statement from them about why they are neglecting to arrest him or extradite him. They have never answered. 

Gardaí say they will continue to work with their colleagues to bring Kinahan to justice but as of now he is evading prosecution.

This has been a red letter day for the Kinahans. Their attempts to smear the media as liars have failed spectacularly. No longer can they hide behind their now ludicrous claims of innocence.

In the words of Drew Harris: “You can run but you can no longer hide.”

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