CAB wants to seize €1.7m of assets allegedly obtained with proceeds of crime by Kinahan crime gang’s chief in Ireland Ross Browning
21st October 2022
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to permanently seize some €1.7m of assets it says were obtained with the proceeds of crime by a senior Kinahan organised crime gang member, the High Court heard.
The court heard senior gardaí believe Ross Browning is the gang’s “principal representative” in Ireland.
The assets include a property in Garristown and lands in Rush, both in north county Dublin, and a house on Deanstown Road, Finglas, Dublin.
It also includes several motor vehicles, luxury watches, and jewellery seized by CAB officers following a raid in 2018.
CAB alleges in 2013 Mr Browning purchased a 1.3-hectare site in Garristown for €120,000 on which he subsequently developed a residence and a new shed on the land.
CAB also claims Mr Browning restored an old cottage on the site for approximately €330,000.
CAB’s claim that the lands and the works were all paid for by Mr Browning is disputed.
CAB has brought proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act seeking orders allowing it to freeze the assets.
Mr Browning has not contested CAB’s application but members of his family reject the bureaus claims in respect of some of the assets.
Mr Browning’s relatives, including his mother Julie Conway and her partner David O’Brien, have claimed an interest in the assets, and contend they were purchased by legitimate funds.
It is also claimed CAB is not entitled to take possession of the assets that it is claimed form part of the estate of the late William Conway, Mr Browning’s grandfather who died in 2018.
Opening the case, Benedict Ó Floinn SC, with Grainne O’Neill Bl, for CAB, said Ross Browning is a leading member of the transnational Kinahan organised crime organisation, whose operations have an estimated worth of €1bn.
Mr Browning, counsel said, was an associate of senior Kinahan gang members including its head Christpher Kinahan Snr, his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr, who counsel said “handle the day-to-day running” of that organisation.
The Kinahan gang, counsel added, is involved in criminal activities, including drug dealing, the importation of weapons, murder and money laundering in South America, the Middle East and mainland Europe as well as in Ireland.
Mr Browning is the gang’s “principal representative in this jurisdiction” counsel said, adding Mr Browning has also associated with other gang members including Liam Byrne, Glen Holland, Freddie Thompson, Gary Finnegan and Barry Finnegan who is the partner of Mr Browning’s sister Cheryl.
Counsel said Mr Browning, a bricklayer, who had also operated a Dublin gym, had obtained assets by “intermingling money” that was the proceeds of crime with money belonging to members of his family.
It is CAB’s belief Mr Browning did not have the means to pay for the assets from legitimately earned funds.
It is also claimed the assets were allegedly purchased and registered in the names of persons known or related to Mr Browning.
Counsel said at one point he made a payment for works and materials used at one of the properties out of an account in the name of one of his children, who at the time was approximately eight years old.
It is CAB’s case that the house in Deanstown Road, Finglas, was acquired for approximately €56,000 more than 10 years ago and is an asset which was acquired with the proceeds of crime.
It was renovated for €120,000 and a cousin of Browning, Ian O’Haire, is the registered owner.
Counsel said the property at Garristown had been acquired in 2013, and Ross Browning has resided there with his partner and their children in a house built in one part of the property.
In 2015-16 it is claimed Browning reconstructed an old cottage on the site into a property called Chestnut Lodge in which his mother now lives with her partner David O’Brien, a former garda detective.
It is claimed that works cost between €80,000 to €100,000 and were partly funded by a loan obtained by Mr O’Brien from St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union. The hearing before Mr Justice Alexander Owens continues.