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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Huge blow to Kinahan cartel as High Court rules top enforcer's wealth 'proceeds of crime'

The court found that the gang was using car dealership to wash money.

Cars seized by CAB.
Cars seized by CAB.
Image: Garda Press Office

THE CRIMINAL ASSETS Bureau has today deemed wealth gathered by the Byrne Organised Crime gang to be the proceeds of crime in what is a massive blow to the Kinahan cartel.

The High Court today gave its judgment in a case brought by the Criminal Assets Bureau against the following respondents: Liam Byrne, Liam Roe, Sean McGovern, Maria Byrne, Anita Freeman, Kelly Quinn, Darren Foster, Jennifer Foster, James Byrne, Sadie Byrne, and Simoan McEnroe.

This concludes a case so far that has involved an application by CAB for over 45 assets including:

• 31 vehicles
• 8 items of jewelry
• 4 items of cash
• 2 houses

Justice Stewart noted that Liam Byrne was the leader of the Byrne Organised Crime Group (BOCG) which is involved, amongst other things, the importation and distribution of controlled drugs and firearms in Ireland and his close connection to the Kinahan Organised Crime Group. Liam’s brother David was shot dead at the Regency Hotel. This was the murder which sparked the Kinahan/Hutch feud.

The Byrne Organised Crime Group is one strand of the Kinahan cartel’s business. Liam Byrne himself is heavily linked to the Kinahan cartel. He is widely recognised as being the leader of the cartel in Dublin now that Daniel Kinahan has fled to Dubai.

According to a statement from CAB: “The Court heard extensive, detailed and largely uncontroverted evidence against Liam Byrne who was described by CAB as a career criminal heavily involved in drug trafficking and violent crime with connections to international criminality operation out of the UK, Spain and the Netherlands. He set up a car business called “LS Active Car Sales Ltd” situated in Bluebell, Dublin 12.”

In coming to its decision, the High Court found that evidence had been put before it which established that the Liam Byrne and Sean McGovern, who was also shot at the Regency Hotel, engaged in criminal activities for the purposes of:

  • Laundering the proceeds of the BOCG’s criminal activity
  • Transferring wealth between the members of various organised crime groups
  • Providing a fleet of high end luxury cars to members of the BOCG; and
  • Hiding the beneficial ownership of the vehicles in question.

Justice Stewart said the LS Car Sales was being used solely for the benefit of the crime gang. They would use its premises for meetings.

She said: “The vehicles in question represent currency between different criminal elements; they are transferred between one criminal organisation to another but the ownership of the vehicle is normally recorded outside of these groupings.”

“This motor business was used as a slush fund for the BOCG and enabled its members to access and exclusively use high end vehicles in payment for, inter alia, flights and five star accommodation.”

Justice Stewart found she had “no hesitation in finding on the balance of probabilities that all of the property … was acquired directly or indirectly used the proceeds of crime”.

A remaining element of the case will be heard in the future concerning a further two houses and one bank account which remain for consideration by the High Court.

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