Government hails ‘tightening net’ closing in on the Kinahan cartel
The Government has hailed the “tightening of the net” on the Kinahan cartel as it emerged authorities in Dubai have frozen the gang’s corporate and personal assets and bank accounts.
The move by officials in the United Arab Emirates follows the imposition of US sanctions against the cartel two weeks ago and has left the Kinahans even more isolated.
The Emirati government did not reveal the extent of the asset seizure, or whether it included the up to $8million paid by boxing promoter Bob Arum to Kinahan for his role as an “advisor” to star Tyson Fury.
Arum has confirmed the cash was paid to a Dubai-based company named Hoopoe Sports Agent. It is not clear whether the firm is the same as the Kinahan-linked company Hoopoe Sports which the US Treasury has sanctioned as part of its measures.
In a statement to the Financial Times, the UAE said they are continuing to investigate the Kinahans together with the US, UK, Ireland and Spain.
It said: “The relevant authorities co-operate closely on cases involving foreign elements, in line with the UAE’s international commitments and national legal framework for combating illicit activity.”
Justice Minister Helen McEntee told the Irish Mirror: “This shows the swift impact of the sanctions announced last week to dismantle the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.
“An Garda Siochana’s tireless work in building an international law enforcement coalition to dismantle the gang has sent a clear signal that nobody is out of reach of the law.
“The net is now clearly tightening on the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.”
Gardai added: “An Garda Siochana continues to work with our partners at an international level to ensure we achieve the objective of dismantling the Kinahan organised crime group.
“The announcements made at City Hall last week have generated additional avenues to pursue, and give us confidence we will achieve our objectives.”
Eric Montalvo, the lawyer taking a civil action against Daniel Kinahan in the US over a boxing contract dispute, said it was further proof that the cartel is running out of boltholes.
He told the Irish Mirror: “I think the UAE have to evaluate who they have in their borders and whether or not that serves their interests well.
“Given that the UAE hold themselves as the financial centre for the world, and that there’s a lot of money flowing through the UAE and that the credibility of the banking system is key and critical to both their economy as well as the world economy in a lot of different ways – Dubai is a intersection hub for all sorts of different international business interests.
“They don’t need more scrutiny than is necessary because it undermines the credibility of the system.
“If they don’t take this seriously, I think that could put them at some risk in terms of their reputation which they try to maintain with a very high level of compliance, is my understanding.
“I do believe this is something that they have to take into account for in their determination. He’s not a citizen.”
Montalvo also claimed the move by MTK Global, the boxing firm Daniel Kinahan co-founded, to cease operations on Wednesday amounted to a “confession” that the narcotrafficker was still involved behind the scenes.
MTK repeatedly insisted it had cut ties with Kinahan since 2017, but this was contradicted by other promoters like Top Rank’s Arum, who told the Irish Mirror Kinahan was “100%” still in control of the company.
Montalvo added: “It’s sort of a confession, a public confession that they were doing what we exactly said they were doing and there are going to be consequences coming”.
MTK claimed in a statement that its decision was because it was being shunned by the boxing world due to the “unfair scrutiny” of the media.
But Montalvo said each company in business with MTK would have done a self assessment and determined that liability existed on foot of the US sanctions.
He told us: “There’s no way they could do business with this organisation and not subject themselves to scrutiny under US law.
“And they’ve severed the relationship. So it means all the entities that are involved with this organisation uniformly came to the same conclusion that Mr Kinahan was absolutely involved in this.
“That involvement creates liability for them. And they made a business decision to walk away.
“And if there wasn’t a basis for that, they wouldn’t have done it.
“In the beginning they said I was making all of this up, all of that has been removed definitely.”
Montalvo says that although MTK is shutting down, it doesn’t halt his lawsuit against them or Kinhan.
Asked if he is confident that this is the downfall of the Kinahan group, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said it was proof “crime does not pay”.
He added: “What I am confident about is the capacity of like-minded countries to work together, to put pressure on such criminal gangs and to reduce very significantly their activities and their influence.” He said it “illustrates the power” of international law enforcement co-operation.