Cartel crib Dublin council’s secret deal for Kinahan gangster Sean McGovern’s former home revealed
Kinahan associate spent €250K upgrading Crumlin house but it has lain unused for over a year and officials refuse to reveal how much property cost
December 12 2021 09:50 AM
Kinahan gangster Sean McGovern’s former home remains boarded up and untouched by workmen – more than 13 months after Dublin City Council bought it from the Criminal Assets Bureau.
Property records exclusively obtained by the Sunday World show Dublin City Council was formally registered as the owner of 219 Kildare Road in Crumlin on November 4 of last year.
Cartel ‘lieutenant’ McGovern, who is currently in exile in Dubai with mob boss Daniel Kinahan, had the house seized from him by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) under Operation Lamp in 2018.
In August last year, a month before it was transferred into the ownership of Dublin City Council, the property was petrol bombed.
Yesterday, Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn called for a probe into the Council’s acquisition and continued non-use of the property.
“Dublin City Council has acquired a property from the Criminal Assets Bureau and that property is strongly associated with one of the most feared crime gangs in this country,” he said.
“But it is completely unacceptable and outrageous that after acquiring this property, it has lain untouched by the council for 13 months.
“It stands there almost like a warning to the community, like a man left hanging from a noose, that these criminals still have power over the community. It’s like an admission that it is untouchable and that gives power to the gangs.
“Leaving it empty is like saying the gang wants revenge and their revenge is that no-one will ever be safe to live in that house because it is still their territory.
“Normally, a house can be turned around, especially in the currently housing crisis, in the space of 10 to 12 weeks. But this property is different because it is a property with a vendetta hanging over it and that vendetta is against the State.
“Now, we don’t know what kind of money Dublin City Council paid for it because there is no transparency when it comes to the council’s acquisition of properties.
“But now the council do own it, they have an obligation to put it back in civic use and not leave it standing there almost like a headstone in our community.”
On Wednesday this week, the Sunday World sent Dublin City Council (DCC) a detailed list of questions in connection with its acquisition of McGovern’s former home.
Although the council’s acquisition of the property was registered with the Land Registry, the price paid for the property has not been uploaded on to the Property Price Register.
Prices paid for other properties sold in the same area since the council’s acquisition of McGovern’s former home are present on the register.
In its response, DCC refused to confirm the price it paid to CAB for the house, citing ‘commercial reasons’ and confirmed the property was not advertised on the open market prior to its purchase.
“Dublin City Council does not disclose the purchase price of individual acquisitions for commercial reasons,” it said. “However, I can advise that all properties are assessed by our City Valuers Office.”
The council did not answer our question as to what use has been made of the property in the last 13 months but said ‘the property will be used for social housing’.
Senior Kinahan cartel member Sean McGovern bought the house in Crumlin for €150,000 in March 2015. The property is now valued at €270,000.
It was paid for using two lodgements, one for €150,000 and another inter-account transfer of €20,000.
The house was then extensively renovated with more than €247,000 spent on it.
McGovern lived there with his partner Anita Freeman.
Anita was also receiving local Government rent subsidies which CAB discovered she was paying into gang boss Liam Byrne’s bank account.
CAB also discovered that €150,000 of the money used to buy the house came from an electronic transfer from an Investec Bank Account in Mauritius.
The money is noted as “a loan for the purchase of real estate in Ireland” as coming from the “Mule State Foundation” c/o Grand Baie Trust Company.
However, CAB couldn’t find any evidence of a loan agreement, a repayment structure or indeed any repayments of this “loan”. A forensic analysis was conducted of Sean McGovern and his partner Anita Freeman’s means, including their bank accounts, social welfare and revenue profiles.
This, however, could not establish the source of the more than a quarter of a million euro spent on the renovations for their home. The house was declared to be the proceeds of crime.
Before handing over the property, McGovern stripped it of its fixtures and fittings.
CAB investigators contacted the UK’s National Crime Agency who responded with information about two conspiracy investigations into drug trafficking from mainland Europe into the UK and Ireland.
This turned out to be the British side of the Kinahan gang’s drug trafficking business.
The first UK criminal investigation related to a consignment of industrialised metal rollers which when searched contained 21kg blocks of 83 per cent pure cocaine, 365kg of cannabis and 10kg of mixing agent. The drugs were trafficked from Belgium and destined for Ireland. It was just one of a series of shipments worth almost £70m.
The investigation established that 14 similar deliveries had been made to Dublin using the same method by a transportation company called JBS Transport Ltd.
James Mulvey, a director of the company, was linked to the drugs shipment by phone analysis and Barry Kenneth Phibbs, the company’s transport manager, created the false documentation to smuggle the drugs.
Kenneth Phibbs was convicted and sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison.
James Mulvey, however, “slipped the net” and went on the run.
The 42-year-old was finally caught and arrested at gunpoint by Special Forces in Lithuania in March 2017.
He was convicted in 2018 at Birmingham Crown Court and jailed for 32 years.
CAB’s investigation into Sean McGovern’s assets showed that on February 24, 2016, Mulvey’s ‘Mule Foundation’ wrote off the loan of €150,000 it has provided to Mr Sean Gerard McGovern to purchase the house at 219 Kildare Road “due to his recent demise”.
Despite the write-off, McGovern – who was shot and injured in the Regency Hotel shooting – remains very much alive.
At present, he is living in Dubai alongside Daniel and Christopher Kinahan.
He fled to the Emirate after emerging as a ‘person of interest’ in the murder of Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan in 2016.