Knives out |
Nicola Tallant: Noose tightens on Kinahan cartel as associates consider how to save themselves
Time is running out for the feuding gang bosses
Nicola TallantSunday World
8th January 2023
The trial of Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch for the murder of David Byrne at the Regency Hotel is set to resume this week as the Special Criminal Court move towards the closing arguments in the case.
It is expected that it will take just weeks to complete the so-called ‘trial of the century’, centring on the fall-out between the Hutch and Kinahan groupings which resulted in a murderous feud that has claimed 18 lives.
Hutch has pleaded not guilty to the murder and his co-accused, Jason Bonney and Paul Murphy, have denied charges of facilitating the killing by providing getaway vehicles on February 5, 2016.
It is almost seven years since the attack on the Regency Hotel and sources agree that 2023 will be the defining year in the murderous feud.
While Hutch remains in custody fighting for his reputation and freedom, Kinahan is still a free man, albeit in a gilded cage in Dubai where he and his father, Christy Snr, and brother Christopher Jnr sought refuge in the aftermath of the Regency and the tsunami of law enforcement that came in its wake.
Files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecution about Kinahan’s role in a number of feud killings, while international tech experts are still going through the encrypted phone messages that have been harvested from a number of high-profile hacks on systems like Encrochat and Sky ECG.
Daniel Kinahan is the only member of the immediate family likely to face trial in Ireland, while ‘Dapper Don’ Christy Snr and his namesake son are being investigated for money laundering, travelling on false passports and their roles in the mob in a number of different jurisdictions, including the USA where the Drug Enforcement Agency is investigating them for funding terrorism.
Sean McGovern, Daniel Kinahan’s right-hand man, is wanted here on murder charges relating to the shooting of The Monk’s friend Noel ‘Duck Egg’ Kirwan.
McGovern is currently holed up in Dubai, but police are monitoring his movements carefully as they bide their time to pick him up for transport home.
It has been an annus horribilis for the Kinahan gang, ever since the US sanctions were levelled against them and $5 million bounties were put on the heads of Kinahan Snr and his two sons.
In the past 12 months, the gang have been named by the US Treasury and placed on their most-wanted list, the Hawala money-laundering system used by the organisation has been dismantled and plans by Christy Snr to relocate to the safety of Zimbabwe have been scuppered.
It seems like a lifetime ago since Daniel Kinahan confidently posed on the rooftop of a luxury Dubai hotel with his arm around his Golden Goose, world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and since he recorded a three-hour podcast to tell the world his story of victimhood.
Since then, Fury has denied any association with the mob boss but has still been denied travel to the United States, the podcast recorded with Scot James English has been canned and the noose has tightened as Kinahan remains the last of the ‘super cartel’ still free.
Already, his former business partners Ridouan Taghi, Raffaele Imperiale and Edin Gacinin have been caught in the net of law enforcement and are before the courts or in custody awaiting their fate.
Johnny Morrissey, the Kinahan cartel’s chief money launderer, is also behind bars in Spain after he was arrested earlier this year.
While Imperiale is the first of the ‘heavy hitters’ to turn state witness and offer information against his one-time comrades, concerns are growing within the embattled Kinahan inner circle that Morrissey may dothe same.
He is facing a huge prison sentence as he stands accused of laundering upwards of €200 million in drug money over the course of 18 months. His wife, Nicola, who was arrested but released without charge, remains under investigation.
Sources close to the Kinahan organisation say the group’s access to funds is limited due to sanctions and because few debtors are honouring what they owe.
They are currently reliant on cash mules to bring wads of money into the United Arab Emirates as they bid to weather the storm while awaiting their inevitable arrests.
Meanwhile, The Monk believes his legal team will secure his freedom.
Despite the length of the Regency trial, just three key pieces of evidence have been put forward by the State to prove his guilt in the murder of David Byrne.
Two of those pieces of evidence are uncorroborated claims by State Witness Jonathan Dowdall who was repeatedly called a ‘liar’ by counsel for The Monk.
The third is a recorded conversation between The Monk and Dowdall as they made their way north in the aftermath of the Regency Hotel and during which they discussed giving ‘three yokes’ to dissidents in exchange for mediation talks with the Kinahan organisation.
It is expected that the circumstances surrounding Hutch’s extradition and other evidence will be heard before the closing speeches in the trial are made.
Judges at the Special Criminal Court will then retire to consider their verdict.