Dubai the Land of Runaway Crooks, and Cartel Bosses, but for how long? The Vipers are getting Paranoid?

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Daniel Kinahan operating freely in Dubai as he tries to distance himself from crime links

EXCLUSIVE: A Sunday Mirror probe today reveals reports of airport suitcases full of money, shady business deals and mafia bosses overseeing killings and extortion

Daniel Kinahan at the funeral of David Byrne at St Nicolas of Myra Church on Francis Street, Dublin (Image: Colin Keegan, Collins)

Daniel Kinahan has a Dubai resident’s card and can operate freely in the city as he tries to distance himself from suspected crime links, we can reveal.

Like countless others, the Kinahans used to bunker down in the Costa del Sol and they are still lapping up the sun – but these days their choice of hideaway is Dubai.

The city with a tower-filled skyline, a Ferrari in every car park and a sparkling nightlife hides a dark underbelly of expat crooks, drug dealing and money laundering.

A Sunday Mirror probe today reveals reports of airport suitcases full of money, shady business deals and mafia bosses overseeing killings and extortion while using corrupt influence to evade the law.

It is a city where cash is king and where extradition is rare… a perfect landing place for the runaway crook.

Daniel Kinahan at the funeral of David Byrne at St Nicolas of Myra Church on Francis Street, Dublin (Image: Colin Keegan, Collins)

The Kinahans shifted their base from Spain to Dubai after becoming embroiled in a bloody turf war with the rival Hutch gang.

The deadly feud claimed 18 victims – though a Garda crackdown appears to have halted the killings for now.

As paranoid Kinahan henchmen complain of being left out in the cold thousands of miles away Daniel Kinahan, 43, his brother Christopher, 40, and their father Christy, 64, are living it up in the United Arab Emirates. 

Daniel Kinahan is thought to have been in Dubai when British boxer Tyson Fury thanked him for helping to organise an anticipated bout against fellow world heavyweight title holder Anthony Joshua.

Last week, BBC’s Panorama aired a documentary – Boxing and the Mob – detailing Daniel Kinahan’s links to the boxing world as well as his association with crime and murder.

L-R MATT MACKLIN AND DANIEL KINAHAN

Daniel Kinahan hit back at the programme and claimed that he had no criminal links.

In a statement issued to TalkSport, he said: “I am not a part of a criminal gang or any conspiracy. I have no convictions. None, Not just in Ireland but anywhere in the world.”

Last October, it emerged that the Government had top-level meetings with Dubai authorities in an attempt to have the Kinahan drug lords put behind bars.

And while the leaders of the Kinahan cartel hide away in Dubai, the Irish Sunday Mirror has learned that members of the gang based in Dublin are running scared.

A source told this newspaper that key associates are keeping a low profile as many fear their lives are in danger as well as being targets for authorities.

The source said: “Many of the well-known members haven’t been seen in months. Even some of those in jail are trying to cut their Kinahan ties.

“There has been a lot of heat on them from authorities and also tensions internally has meant many are fearful of being whacked by their very own. They are paranoid.

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“Some have apparently said they would rather be locked up in jail as it’s a safer place to be.”

Middle East crime expert Dr Christopher Davidson spent six years in Dubai and says: “When I lived there the old joke was that there were more gangsters in the average bar than at a Pentonville prison roll call.

“There has always been a steady stream of people on the run in Dubai but the number has definitely increased in recent years.

“In the past it was people fleeing debts and things like that, but more recently there has been a trend for major organised crime figures to move out there.

“There are people there living a lifestyle that used to be enjoyed on the Costa del Sol in the 1970s and 1980s before the Spanish police started cracking down.

“Dubai is like one of those gangster movies you see on TV now. It’s a culture of champagne, extravagant spending, year-round sunshine and fast cars.”

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And it’s not just Irish criminals who have swapped the Costa del Sol for Dubai.

Scottish crime boss Steven Lyons, 39, is also hiding out there after fleeing increasingly bloody gang violence in Glasgow.

Drug lord Jordan Clements, 29, from Oldham, had a €357,000 villa in Dubai and a car with the registration BO55. He was arrested in 2019 and is serving 15 years.

Angels of Death gang suspect Radwan Al Taghi, 43, is feared to have organised brutal hits against gang rivals in Britain and was arrested in Dubai last June.

And “Most Wanted” from Warrington in England, felon Leon Cullen, 32, was arrested in Dubai in January last year after two years on the run.

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And fugitive Zahid Khan, 34, spent months taunting police in Birmingham by showing off a champagne lifestyle of flash cars and five-star hotels until he was caught in July last year.

Experts say this rogue’s gallery of names is just the tip of the iceberg and huge numbers of crime bosses and con artists operate with impunity in the UAE.

During the Mirror’s four days in the Middle East, there was ample evidence of people sinking €8,000-a-bottle champagne at hotels.

Radha Stirling is the founder of Detained in Dubai – an organisation that helps free innocent tourists held in jail.

She says that wealthy individuals feel untouchable as they have the power to buy their way out of trouble.

Radha says: “The UK doesn’t generally extradite people to the UAE because of concerns about prison conditions and torture, so the UAE is rarely minded to send people here.

This gives criminals a level of protection and we also have a level of corruption which is called ‘wasta’ locally and means influence.

Criminals can use contacts to gain wasta themselves. Money talks in Dubai.”

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Dubai’s history is steeped in wealth and the Arabic proverb Daba Dubai means “They came with a lot of money”.

A fishing village in the 18th century, it was a trading hub until oil was discovered in 1966, creating huge wealth for the UAE.

Dr Mohammed Rahman, a senior lecturer in criminology at Birmingham City University, says Dubai has become a centre for money laundering on a gargantuan scale.

Multi-million pound apartments and houses can be bought using the virtual currency bitcoin.

Huge sums of cash are flown to Dubai in luggage and a suitcase carrying £1.9million was seized at a UK airport only last year.

Dr Rahman said: “Dubai is a tax-free country full of private investors whose main concern is making money – so they don’t tend to ask questions if you arrive with a large bag of cash.”

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