The Kinahans are now scouring the globe for a safe haven – here’s what could be next for the cartel
The UAE’s statement last Thursday about the asset freeze and sanctions against organized crime group Kinahan was dramatic but sparse in detail. A statement said all personal and corporate accounts associated with the Kinahan crime clan were frozen, but made no mention of what those assets were worth. Nevertheless, the information vacuum conjured up a multitude of fascinating scenarios.
id the criminally wealthy Kinahan emerge from their luxurious residences on Thursday to find themselves locked out of their sun-soaked Dubai playground? Was Christy Kinahan (66), aka Christopher Vincent, able to pay his hotel bill? According to US Treasury Department officials, he enjoys moving around, tending the wealth side of the family’s drug business and leaving the trades to his sons. Has he played a round of golf?
Did Daniel Kinahan, 44, leave his wife and five children in the chic Palm Jumeirah to go to the office in downtown Dubai only to find he wasn’t let in? He runs his consulting firm, Ducashew General Trading, from an office on the 21st floor of 2 Boulevard Plaza Tower. Are the “11 to 50 employees” listed on Ducashew’s LinkedIn page getting paid?
How does Christopher Jr. (41), who lives across from his older brother in a waterfront condo in the Iris Blue Building, pay their gang members? According to the US government, Christopher Jr.’s responsibilities include raising a fund to pay the criminal squad, transporting drugs, and carrying out Daniel’s orders.
Are you still in the United Arab Emirates, a country where your bank cards don’t work? As drug dealers, they probably have access to plenty of dirty cash, but it’s technically illegal for anyone to sell them anything from a roadside cup of coffee to a strawberry daiquiri on the terraces of Dubai Marina.
According to John O’Driscoll, the Garda’s deputy commissioner in charge of fighting organized crime, the house of cards in Kinahan is collapsing.
The stage was set last Tuesday week when the US announced sanctions against organized crime group Kinahan at an unprecedented press conference with An Garda Síochána in Dublin.
The Kinahans – Christy Sr, Daniel and Christopher Jr – have been named as at the forefront of the global crime and drug trafficking network. The US government has offered a $5 million reward for each of them. Four gang members and three companies associated with the gang were also sanctioned.
It took just nine days for the United Arab Emirates to institute its own sanctions regime against the gang, which the US says uses Dubai as a “facilitation hub” for its illegal activities.
“It was to be expected that this would have a significant impact [US] Sanctioning. You could describe it as a house of cards collapsing just by taking those particular units out, and to some extent that’s what we’re seeing,” said Mr O’Driscoll.
“It’s just getting harder and harder for them to operate. It has been warned that anyone who interacts with any of the sanctioned companies will face consequences. And those consequences could be that they themselves could be included in the list of sanctioned entities.”
The Kinahans registered a number of companies with the Dubai authorities and used tax-free trade zones in an attempt to gloss over their image. They hid behind the privacy of foreign investors in the UAE. Sanctions flushed them out.
The US government named three companies linked to the group — a sports company, a beverage company and Daniel Kinahan’s management consultancy. Mr. O’Driscoll named a fourth, CVK Investments LLC, in this newspaper last week.
All of the companies had a solid online presence, unashamedly promoting investment opportunities and advisory services, and barely hiding their own identities.
Christy Kinahan used his business Twitter account @CVBizbroker, which was revealed by the sunday world last week to praise Vladimir Putin and anti-vaccination and tweet against Joe Biden.
In recent days, the Kinahans have hastily deleted their online presence, with company websites and social media accounts being shut down. Christy Kinahan’s Twitter account, which existed last week, is now “defunct”.
The Ducashew Trading & Consultancy website, which is controlled by Daniel, is no longer accessible, although its LinkedIn page remains. The Hoopoe Sports Company website has been “suspended”. It is run by Ian Dixon, another sanctioned member of the Kinahan organized crime group and a former Tallaght barman. This time last week, Nero Drinks Company Ltd put vodka cocktails online. This weekend, the website of the company controlled by Kinahan Enforcer Johnny Morrissey went offline.
“When people see the difficulties involved in interacting with them, and vice versa, the Kinahans will realize that it is difficult to engage in any form of business with others,” said Mr. O’Driscoll.
Nowhere is that more evident than in boxing. The drug trafficking cartel has forged close ties to the very top of international boxing, fueled by Daniel’s ambitions to become the world’s largest promoter. He has “advised” some of the world’s top boxers, earning him praise from fighters and promoters alike.
It took sanctions to get leading promoters to cut ties with him. In a knockout blow last Wednesday, the boxing company he co-founded in 2012 announced it was closing over “baseless claims” that Daniel was still involved. MTK Global claimed Kinahan’s engagement ended in 2017.
Bob Arum, the US boxing promoter who previously praised Kinahan as “smart,” “dead honest,” and a “sincere guy,” now says he’s “greedy.” He revealed he paid Daniel $8 million for “advising” Arum’s top boxer, Tyson Fury. If Kinahan hasn’t already spent it, the money is now frozen. It was transferred to Hoopoe Sports Agent in Dubai, one of the companies sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.
“We’ve obviously seen over the past few days a number of people who have been involved with these people and companies are now moving away from that position and they see the danger they would be in if they continued like this would do as it has done in the past,” said Mr O’Driscoll.
The goal, he added, is for the pressure to be combined to “speed up the dismantling of the organized crime group.”
The UAE has attracted international criminal organizations from Russia, Romania and the Far East, and the government’s record in fighting money laundering has come under scrutiny. A finance task force graylisted it last year over concerns it wasn’t doing enough to crack down on illicit financial activity.
Gardaí expected US sanctions would put pressure on the UAE to crack down on the gang, but were unaware of the actions. According to O’Driscoll, the UAE’s interactions are with the US. Ireland will work with the UAE on the extradition of Kinahan henchman Sean McGovern, Daniel’s closest adviser and also on the sanctions list.
Meanwhile, the Kinahans, locked out of their front lines, their cover blown, scoured the world for safe haven.
Countries like Oman, Kazakhstan and even Afghanistan have been touted by commentators. Security sources believe they will remain in Central Asia or possibly South America, where Daniel sources large quantities of cocaine, according to the US government. Russia has also been touted, although security sources believe the Kinahan clan is at risk from super-rich Russian kleptocrats and organized crime gangs.
Mr O’Driscoll declined to name countries the Kinahans might weigh in the sanctions storm.
“What I can say is that among those they will consider, the jurisdictions will be those where corruption can be an aspect or a way of life and where they believe they can go on with their criminal enterprise without interference “, he said.
“There are times when organized crime groups go into a bigger pond, they can be eaten up. No matter how powerful an organized crime group is, if you join a larger pond of even more powerful organized crime groups, you will be at risk.”
According to Mr O’Driscoll, it doesn’t matter where they go. The hunt to take down the Kinahan crime cartel has gained unstoppable international momentum.
Sanctions and asset freezes will follow, disrupting their businesses and closing their options.
Gardaí pursued the gang in Ireland and forced them to move to Spain, and worked with Spanish authorities to force them to move again.
“They moved to the UAE and we pursued them again and we brought on board other entities from other jurisdictions that we needed to bring about. In the event that they move to another jurisdiction, we will address any challenges arising from which jurisdiction they move to,” Mr O’Driscoll said.
“We will continue to follow them. We will continue to monitor their activities, their movements and their actions wherever they travel.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/the-kinahans-are-now-scouring-the-globe-for-a-safe-haven-heres-what-could-be-next-for-the-cartel-41581835.html The Kinahans are now scouring the globe for a safe haven – here’s what could be next for the cartel