Caught on wireta[
Inside police wiretap where one of Europe’s biggest druglords calls Kinahans ‘most powerful’ narco terrorist gang
- 8:00, 17 Apr 2022
THE narco terrorist gang run by fugitive crime boss Daniel Kinahan is considered the “most powerful” and the most deadly — according to one of Europe’s biggest drug lords.
James Mulvey — currently serving a 32-year sentence for masterminding a €82m drugs smuggling network — spoke about the Irish crime group in a series of secretly recorded telephone calls before his arrest in Lithuania, in 2017.
Today, The Irish Sun on Sunday reveals never-before-seen details of the explosive wiretaps in which he speaks of the mob’s ruthlessness.
In one meeting recorded by the UK’s National Crime Agency, Mulvey said of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group: “Do you understand how these people work? If they can’t get to you, they kill the people you love.”
Our revelations come after Mulvey was named as a “key player” in the Kinahan cartel, when details of the $5m reward for information leading to Daniel Kinahan’s arrest were made public at a stunning press conference at Dublin’s City Hall last Tuesday.
The US Treasury Department slapped sanctions on exiled Kinahan and six others on grounds of drug smuggling and money laundering.
Kinahan was named along with father Christy Kinahan Sr and brother Christy Jr.
But it’s not just the leadership that’s terrifying, according to Mulvey, 46, who spoke of his associates when on the run from investigators under ‘Operation Sassak’.
In one call to an associate about Kinahan’s right-hand man, Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, when he was on the run, Mulvey said: “They are that powerful. You’ve got Daniel, f***ing The Wig (Graham Whelan), Georgie and him (Kavanagh). They’re the most powerful group.
“The Irish are the most powerful and also the f***ing mad
Mulvey was also asked if the cartel were “madder” than him, but he didn’t respond.
In another secretly recorded call, Mulvey revealed how Daniel Kinahan, 44, expressed concern that he was “a rat”.
Mulvey also made reference to David ‘Blinky’ Duffy, 35, who was a key lieutenant for Bomber Kavanagh and is now serving five years for his role in the botched hit to kill Hutch associate James ‘Mago’ Gately in April 2017.
Anxious Mulvey told his associate: “Stories from other people like Blinky who weren’t even family — and people believed the stupid, poxy story.”
Investigators believe he was referring to key cartel figure Liam Byrne, when he said: “Fair play to Liam. Liam went and spoke to Daniel because Daniel pulled Liam.
“They robbed me. I was stupid to go with them. Doesn’t mean they can rob me.”
And in another call, he explained how Liam Byrne and ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, who’s now serving a 21-year sentence in the UK for drugs offences, had survived a hit in 2014.
He said: “I sat with Liam, and Liam said to me Thomas and Liam were set together when they tried to get through the house. He said they had bulletproof glass in a couple of days before and no one knew.
“They went in the house and the gun jammed.”
At the same time that Mulvey’s phones had been tapped by NCA investigators in 2014, his luxury €1.4million luxury villa in Spain was also being used by Christy Kinahan’s eldest son.
Daniel — whose brother Christopher and father also have a $5million bounty on their heads — was secretly recorded visiting the property.
Investigators believe he was staying at the property at the same time as his relationship with Gary Hutch, 34, started to break down over the cartel’s failure to launder Hutch’s cash from a tiger kidnapping.
In a statement to The Irish Sun on Sunday, the NCA also confirmed Mulvey’s close links to Bomber Kavanagh, 54, who was previously described by Spanish police as having “equal status” as Daniel Kinahan in the crime syndicate.
The NCA said: “Mulvey was a trusted associate of Thomas Kavanagh — those operating at the highest levels of criminality would only enter into agreements with those that they trusted.”
Another of Mulvey’s close associates within the “apex” of the cartel was Sean McGovern.
McGovern — who was also targeted at Tuesday’s press conference after it emerged he was at the centre of a European Arrest Warrant over the murder of innocent man Noel Kirwan in December 2016 — previously received a €155,000 cash payment from Mulvey.
Investigators now believe that the cash was used by McGovern to pay for his home on Kildare Road in south Dublin.
The money originated from the ‘Mule State Foundation’ who claimed the cash was for “the purpose of real estate in Ireland”. The cash was also paid to McGovern through an account in Mauritius, with the NCA identifying how Mulvey “created a complex web of transactions to move funds from the Isle of Man through to Monaco to Mauritius”.
Mulvey’s gift also ended in disaster after the property was seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau under ‘Operation Lamp’.
The NCA said: “Investigators identified that in excess of £7.8m originating from unknown sources had been accredited to one company in the Isle of Man.
“As a result, Mulvey lived a lavish lifestyle — he purchased a €1.4m villa in Spain built to his specification and numerous properties in the UK.
“He owned high-end watches and cars and had a self-confessed £1,000-a-week cocaine habit.
“These organised crime groups, and those who are associated with them, go to extreme lengths to evade law enforcement — and Mulvey is no exception.
“He did his best to live as a ghost — he had no conventional footprints in the UK. He also moved between luxury hotels throughout Europe.”
During last Tuesday’s stunning announcement about the global crackdown on the cartel, the NCA’s Deputy Director of Investigations, Matt Horne, vowed to continue his team’s work with the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.
The senior investigator said: “James Mulvey is another key player in the crime group. We also prevented eight threats to life — murders and punishment beatings on the streets of the UK and elsewhere by sharing intelligence with law enforcement partners.
TARGETING VIOLENT CRIMINALS
“We target criminals who cause the most harm, are the most violent, those who exploit the vulnerable and dominate communities. The Kinahan group fall into all of those categories.
“They have transcended international boundaries — distributing multi-million pound shipments of drugs throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe — and have been engaging in firearms trafficking and money laundering.
“They thought they were untouchable but the sanctions imposed will be a huge blow to the Kinahans.
“It has cut them off from the global financial system, making them toxic to legitimate businesses and financial institutions.
“It will also cause other criminals to think twice about doing business with them.” The senior investigator continued: “It shows that we will explore every opportunity available to disrupt their criminal activities.
“And, rest assured, we will not stop here.
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, we will ensure those who are responsible for flooding the streets with drugs and firearms, laundering the proceeds of crime, ordering murders and inflicting violence, are held to account for their actions.”
Anyone who has information on McGovern’s whereabouts should contact the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.