The target of US sanctions this week, Kinahan cartel enforcer and fixer John Morrissey has had a long career in organized crime.
His early reputation as a British gangland hitman is a world away from his recent image as a brand ambassador for alcohol on the Costa del Sol.
Drinks company Nero was sanctioned by US authorities this week and described as being controlled by him, with his wife Nicole being described as “front person for his interests”.
His luxurious split-level home on the coast of Spain, dotted with ornate statues, remained empty when the Sunday World team visited this week after he was revealed as a key figure in one of the world’s biggest drug cartels.
So far he has been openly living in the resort town of Marbella and has been appearing regularly on social media and local websites and enjoying a party lifestyle.
It’s not the first time the veteran mobster has attempted to pose as a charming party-loving host, having opened up shop in Kinsale, Co Cork in the mid-1990s.
His restaurant Annalize caused a stir around town, where he became known as ‘Johnny Cash’, paying for everything in banknotes – including the estimated €600,000 renovation of his property.
Former Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) chief officer Felix McKenna told the Sunday World this week how his love of disregarding his money drew their attention to Morrissey.
“He wasn’t shy at all. He was a man in town, he had the spondooolicks in his pocket to flash and he wasn’t afraid to flash them.”
The Englishman became one of the first targets of the newly formed CAB after the FBI discovered he had a serious criminal background outside of Ireland.
“His reputation was that he was a gangster killer in England, even more so than in Ireland, which is one of the reasons he came to Kinsale,” says McKenna.
To the locals in Kinsale, he was a charming, gregarious man who frequented the town’s bars and regularly donated to charity.
The creation of the Criminal Assets Bureau in 1996 dealt a hammer blow to the Irish underworld and it was soon revealed that Morrissey was involved in an attempt to intimidate or even kill a prominent officer.
“There have been threats against CAB. He has been identified as the orchestrator or the person capable of performing them,” McKenna said.
CAB officers searched his property and confiscated jewelry and an ocean-going dinghy. He left jurisdiction after the confiscations and never returned.
In total, cash worth €130,000 and property worth €500,000 were confiscated by the Bureau.
Morrissey had also been identified as an associate of George “the Penguin” Mitchell during the Operation Firedamp investigation into the criminal and his gang.
In recent years, Morrissey has re-emerged in Spain as a businessman promoting his wife’s drinks business, often in posh settings on the Costa del Sol.
A lavish party in Puerto Banus to launch a brand of vodka was attended by a host of Costa del Sol celebrities, including reality TV star Lina Hodgkins and Irish models Cindy Cafolla and Virginia Macari.
He posted photos of his lavish lifestyle on social media, including pictures of him eating, on boats and at a shooting range.
Morrissey also published Blood Feud, an online pamphlet released as part of a campaign by Daniel Kinahan when he was planning to step out of the shadows as a boxing fixer.
Blood Feud detailed a false theory that claimed the attack on the Regency Hotel was a conspiracy by the media, gardaí and the government to kill Kinahan.
Morrissey was a close friend of Daniel Kinahan and was a guest at his wedding in Dubai in 2017.
He was also a sidekick to David “Daithí” Douglas, who was killed in 2016 on the orders of “Fat” Freddie Thompson, and was often in the company of gunman Kevin Lynch.
Morrissey remains one step ahead of the law to this day, and despite being the prime suspect in several unsolved UK murders, he has avoided serious criminal convictions.
The US Treasury Department explained this week why Morrissey is imposing its sanctions: “John Morrissey has worked for KOCG for several years, including as an enforcer, facilitating international drug shipments for the organization from South America.
“John Morrissey is also involved in money laundering.”
Former CAB boss McKenna said it was “satisfactory” to make Morrissey a subject of international efforts to fight organized crime.
“He got into a group of criminals who were leaving [Ireland] after founding CAB and made a lot of money abroad and still makes a lot of money in the drug business.
“It’s fantastic to see what happened last week in relation to the issuance of the notices by the US authorities. Hopefully these men will all be locked up and locked away for a long time in the years to come.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/kinahan-fixer-john-morrissey-is-man-about-town-and-was-known-as-johnny-cash-in-cork-41565384.html Kinahan fixer John Morrissey is a townsman and was known in Cork as ‘Johnny Cash’