Crime godfather Christy Kinahan faces extradition if he fails to appear in Spanish court
October 01 2020 11:42 AM
CRIME godfather Christy Kinahan faces being extradited from his bolthole in the Middle East if he fails to turn up in a Spanish court to face fraud charges.
The ‘Dapper Don’ has been charged with two counts of passport fraud following a decade long investigation run by a Spanish judicial investigator as part of Operation Shovel, the major police offensive against the Kinahan cartel in 2010.
Sources have said that, while he can continue living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ahead of any future trial, he will be the subject of an international arrest warrant if he fails to appear in court.
Unlike Ireland, the UAE and Spain have an extradition treaty which was signed in 2010 – the same year that the multi-national raids on the Kinahan cartel took place.
Bail restrictions hanging over the 63-year-old were eased and subsequently removed years ago, meaning that Christy Kinahan is not subject to any travel restrictions or obligation to sign on.
A well-placed judicial source said today: “Unless anything unexpected occurs, Kinahan will be able to continue living his life as normal until he is called to trial.
“If he fails to appear at trial, then the appropriate action would be taken which would obviously be an international arrest warrant.
“At this stage there’s little to no possibility he could be made (abide) with any new bail conditions given the fact they were lifted years ago when he was still under investigation on suspicion of crimes including money laundering.”
It emerged yesterday that Kinahan Snr had been charged with passport fraud following a decade-long court investigation sparked by his Operation Shovel arrest at home near Estepona in June 2010.
It was also confirmed state prosecutors had sensationally dropped their case against a string of other suspects including the Dapper Don’s two sons Daniel and Christopher Jr after failing to build a watertight case against them.
The investigating judge mothballed the money laundering and criminal association facets of the criminal probe resulting from the 30-plus Operation Shovels arrests in three countries including Spain and Ireland.
The decision meant 24 men and women who were being formally investigated, including Guinness kidnapper John Cunningham, are now completely in the clear unless any compelling new evidence enabling them to be charged with criminal wrongdoing comes to light in the future.
The judge simultaneously decided only five of the original 31 detainees should now face trial for lesser crimes which in most cases carry short prison sentences.
Christy Kinahan and two other men, Robert Edward Phillips and James Gregory Naughton, have been charged with passport fraud.
Jasvinder Singh Kamoo, said to have played a key money laundering role by police investigators in a report highlighted by the Spanish press in their initial coverage of the case after the arrests, has been charged with using fake number plates on a Mercedes.
And a fifth man, Ross Gerard Browning, has been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Browning is a convicted armed robber and the centre of an ongoing CAB investigation.
Kinahan, has been warned he could face a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine if convicted, although the minimum prison sentence under Spanish law is just six months.
The time he spent in prison on remand after his Operation Shovel arrest, thought to be around six months, will be taken into account in determining if he will have to return to jail after any conviction.
It is not yet clear if his defence lawyers will now seek a plea bargain deal, as state prosecutors are not thought to have yet submitted the indictment the investigating judge has now asked them to formulate.
The seven-page court ruling which finally puts light at the end of the tunnel more than a decade after the Operation Shovel arrests says the judicial investigation has uncovered “sufficient evidence” Christy Kinahan “used a false passport to travel from Madrid’s Barajas Airport to Rio in Janeiro in Brazil on April 30 2010.
It adds: “To be specific, he used a British passport in the name of Michael Leslie Swift.
“This travel document was allegedly used by the suspect to reserve the air ticket, obtain the boarding card and pass through a police checkpoint.”
It also says inquiries have shown there are “justified reasons” to consider suspects Robert Edward Phillips and James Gregory Naughton were identified by police by a tunnel close to a luxury residential estate in Behavis near Marbella moments before another passport was found in a taped-up lunch box.
The travel document was an Irish passport in the name of Thomas Richard Hasset in which a photograph of Christy Kinahan had been inserted.
The gun Ross Browning has been charged over was a Glock 19 pistol found at his home in Benahavis near Marbella on May 27 2010 with the serial number erased.
Jasvinger Singh Kamoo’s charge relates to false number plates found on a Mercedes C180 at his home.
The court ruling, identifying the men only by their first names and the initials of their middle names and surnames, states: “These facts could constitute two alleged crimes of fraud by Christopher VK, an alleged crime of fraud by Robert EP, an alleged crime of fraud by James GN, an alleged crime of fraud by Jasvinder SK, and an alleged crime of unlawful weapons possession by Ross GB.”
Explaining why no charges of money laundering or criminal association were being brought against any of the men and women under formal investigation for the past ten years, the court ruling states: “Although it’s obvious from the lengthy police and court probe, documentation and testimonies that there are reasonable grounds to suspect those people investigated formed part of a criminal network to launder the proceeds of a criminal activity of drugs and weapons trafficking, it has not been possible under Spanish law to obtain evidence that could link the crime of money laundering which formed part of the investigation with a previous criminal activity.”
The feud between the Kinahans and the rival Hutch gang has been described as the bloodiest in Irish history and has been blamed for the loss of 18 lives including that of innocent holidaymaker Trevor O’Neill who was shot dead in Majorca in 2016.
It is widely regarded as being sparked by the assassination of Gary Hutch on September 24 2015 in Miraflores on the Costa del Sol.
James Quinn was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being convicted of Hutch’s murder following a five-day trial at a court in Malaga in June 2018.
Daniel Kinahan was named in the Irish High Court in 2018 as a senior player in organised crime on a global scale despite having no criminal convictions.
And he was at the centre of an international controversy earlier this year when he was identified as the advisor who masterminded boxer Tyson Fury’s lucrative two-fight deal with Anthony Joshua.