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Christy Kinahan Snr tracked to Switzerland as gardaí, CAB and Interpol work to tackle drug cartel

A number of investigations has the head of the crime syndicate scrambling to hide his assets.

Image: Sam Boal

IRELAND’S GARDAI ARE working with agencies in four European countries, as well as Interpol and Europol, to pursue Irishman Christy Kinahan Senior after the gangland figure was tracked to Switzerland.

CAB is leading the charge against the multi-millionaire but agencies in the UK, Dubai, Switzerland and the Netherlands, together with Interpol and Europol are following his movements.

Kinahan Snr was in Switzerland last month and, according to well-placed sources, was meeting with financial advisers on how he can shift laundered cash into a protected bank account without having to actually physically move it.

It has also emerged that authorities in Dubai, where the Cabra-born gang leader was directing his property portfolio, have been informed of his association with the worldwide drug trade.

For the past two years, the name Christy Kinahan Snr has been synonymous with gangland crime. He is the head of Ireland and possibly Europe’s most notorious drug cartel which has been implicated in up to 10 murders.

Although there were rumours of him celebrating his 60th birthday party in Dubai, the leader of the drugs empire is not so much stepping back from the limelight as he is running from it. Gardai believe his son Daniel is now running the day-to-day operations of the cartel while Kinahan Snr looks after the property aspects of the business.

Dutch cocaine dealers, Moroccan cannabis suppliers and Russian drugs and human trafficking gangs are all eyeing corners of the markets once deemed untouchable by the Kinahan organised crime group.

90407529_90407529 Dublin's Regency Hotel Source: Sasko Lazarov

It is believed that many of the ex-IRA men who would carry out assassinations on the continent have abandoned the gang. Just a couple of stragglers remain willing to carry out its orders.

Dutch police no longer consider the Kinahan crew to be their biggest worry. While Irish and British gangs have moved the largest quantity of drugs through the Netherlands and onto other European countries in the last decade, the elite police force has its sights fixed on other targets.

Kinahan Snr has been spotted by worldwide intelligence officers in Dubai, Hong Kong, the UK, north Africa and, most recently, in Switzerland, where sources have told TheJournal.ie, that the remnants of his cash piles are being moved into Swiss bank accounts.

Shell companies are being created with headquarters stationed in tax havens and accounts in the names of trusted confidantes as Kinahan Snr attempts to move away from the business which made him the multi-millionaire with a target on his back.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), along with their counterparts in the UK and Europe, have been working together since before the Regency Hotel shooting in February 2016 in an attempt to capture the assets of the leaders of the cartel.

Most recently, Liam Byrne, brother of the Regency Hotel victim David, was the target of CAB.

The bureau wants to sell assets, including several cars, worth €500,000 of 11 individuals it says are linked to the Kinahan organised crime group.

CAB had previously secured orders from the High Court freezing the assets which include jewellery, motorbikes and cars seized by the bureau following raids at various locations in March of last year.

The United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong are seen as Kinahan Snr’s bases where he conducts his property empire. A photograph of Kinahan Snr, printed in the Irish Daily Star last year, showed him walking around the Asian country as the gang war continued to rage in Dublin and Spain. 

The Costa Del Sol in the south of Spain was once the headquarters of the Kinahan gang. While they still have interests there, especially in Malaga and Marbella, it has been decided by Daniel Kinahan that senior members of the cartel should not be so easy to find.

Despite this, Kinahan himself has been photographed on public social media pages, including one in a photograph with former heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury”

Twelve men, including a number of innocent people, have lost their lives since the bloodshed began.

But it has now been the second quietest period since the feud began. It has been over 13 weeks since Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan was murdered outside his home in west Dublin shortly before Christmas.

The longest this gang war has gone without a murder is 18 weeks. This was the length of time between the deaths of innocent council worker Trevor O’Neill in Spain and the abovementioned killing of Noel Kirwan.

Losses

Last month, TheJournal.ie reported that the Kinahan cartel had lost a minimum of €42 million since the feud with the Hutch gang began last year.

The estimated baseline figure of the Kinahan cartel’s losses in the last 12 months stands at €42 million. This figure is arrived at by calculating drug and weapon seizures conducted under Operation Thistle while also taking into account significant seizures by CAB and Revenue and Customs.

Operation Thistle is being led by Detective Inspector Paul Cleary and Detective Superintendent Peter O’Boyle from Kevin Street garda station.

For gardaí, this is a war they have been fighting for decades but the feeling is that there is serious potential to dismantle this cartel’s influence in Ireland. As one security source put it, there will always be a demand for drugs. The only thing that changes is the people who are bringing them in.

Read: Hutch family asked for travel plans as gardaí receive intel on potential attack >

Read: Cartel regrets: A minimum of €42 million has been lost by the Kinahans since the feud began >

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