FRI, 06 MAY, 2022 – 13:00
The Kinahan cartel leadership may be prosecuted in the US or another country as part of a “multinational operation”, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.
The police chief said the $5m reward US authorities have offered for information leading to the apprehension of each of the cartel’s three leaders – Daniel Kinahan, dad Christy and brother Christopher Junior – was a “tried and tested” method in the US.
“It’s been successful in terms of other major criminals,” the commissioner said, adding that investigating gardaí see this as a “very credible tactic” to bring down the leadership, which is based in the United Arab Emirates.
“Evidence is evidence,” the commissioner said, “and we are involved, in effect, in a multinational operation against this OCG [organised crime group] and it’s where then we see the best opportunity in terms of prosecution and bringing them before the courts.”
He said the reason why gardaí have engaged with so many international partners is to give them “every chance” of bringing a prosecution either in Ireland, Europe or in the US.
“So, that’s the focus – gathering the evidence to make sure that we get the best chance in respect of where the prosecution could be mounted,” he said.
“We’re working very closely with US law enforcement in respect of that, that’s an ongoing and, in fact, daily engagement with both US law enforcement, federal law enforcement but also Europol.”
Speaking at the opening of a new garda station at Dublin Airport, the commissioner said a “huge amount of work” has been done since the multinational announcement of the reward and the sweeping financial sanctions imposed in the US on the three leaders and four senior associates as well as three business entities.
That dramatic development was announced in Dublin three weeks ago at an event attended by a delegation of US authorities and government figures, garda bosses and top officers from the British National Crime Agency.
“A lot of intelligence and information has been gleaned,” the commissioner said. “And now we’re using that to build a case – but that’s not to say that we are reporting this to the DPP.
“It may be that some other jurisdiction will take the prosecution on. We’d be seeking them to support that.”
He said the financial sanctions imposed – followed a week later by similar sanctions in the UAE – were a “good start” and that the second part of the investigation were criminal prosecutions.
Mr Harris said the offer of reward has led to information: “We’ve certainly received information that we wish to act upon in terms of further in our investigation.” He expected a second wave of sanctions to follow, which he said will hit other senior Kinahan figures and other business entities.
Commenting on the report published this morning by the EU’s police and drug agencies, which said Irish criminal networks were “very large wholesalers” of cocaine in Europe, he said gardaí were very concerned at the prevalence of cocaine trafficking into Europe.
He said they were “well aware” of the role played by Irish gangs and said gardaí worked very closely with Europol and agencies in North America.
“And we ourselves have stretched internationally with liaison officers in Bogota [Columbia] and Washington, and that’s made a huge difference in terms of information flow around criminal gangs, trafficking and drugs,” he said.