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Spanish authorities still on the hunt for Kinahan gang

Spanish authorities still on the hunt for Kinahan gang

A top Spanish lawyer has warned Christy Kinahan’s gang that they have not gotten away with being prosecuted, even though nearly six years have passed since cops shut down the mob’s €500m empire.

Spanish authorities swooped on the Kinahan gang in May 2010 as part of Operation Shovel, when they arrested dozens of people and seized properties, luxury cars and large amounts of cash.

Christy Kinahan and his two sons, Daniel and Christopher junior, were arrested as part of the high-profile probe, but were subsequently bailed and now believe they are in the clear.

However, leading criminal lawyer Antonio Flores – who has experience representing mobsters – said the gang should not be too confident because work on Operation Shovel is continuing.

Flores knew several lawyers who were lifted as part of the sting and said they have been told the investigation is still very much alive.

Flores told UTV Ireland reporter Sarah O’Connor that it could be several more years before the Kinahans are prosecuted and brought to court.

“You could be looking at another year or two of investigation – even if there’s not much happening it’s just the pace the courts go at. There’ll be a trial date set in Malaga and eventually there’ll be sentencing. It doesn’t get forgotten, it just takes time,” Flores said.

Flores admitted that while the lengthy delays in prosecution may lead people to think that investigations are over, six-year probes are not unusual in Spain.

“This is an endemic problem of the Spanish criminal system – courts in Spain are slow and they are overloaded with work.

“Although many of the cases start spectacularly with media coverage, it tends to die out in court and things just basically seem to fade away.”

In a documentary aired last night, neighbours of Daniel Kinahan in Puerto Banus said the mob boss has left the area and has not been seen since the murder of David Byrne and the revenge killing of Eddie Hutch.

In the documentary, former detective inspector Brian Sherry describes how he arrested Hutch in 1996 following the infamous Brinks Allied robbery in Dublin where over £2.8m was stolen. Hutch later made a large settlement with the Criminal Assets Bureau.

Sherry said: “Down through the years I’ve had occasion to meet with Gerry Hutch and part of that was the investigation into the Brinks robbery in 1995.

“I remember going back to 1996, maybe 1997, I was a detective sergeant in Raheny at the time and one of my responsibilities was to arrest Gerry in relation to the armed robbery.

“He would sit there and he would talk to you about everything and anything – but, needless to say, when you wanted anything he had a different viewpoint.”

In the aftermath of the murders of Byrne and Hutch, armed gardaí flooded the streets of the capital.

Dermot O’Brien, the President of the Garda Representative Association, said officers face an uphill battle to regain control because of cuts to resources.

“The minister for justice shouldn’t have to pledge €5million, we should have the resources out there to be able to immediately react to these situations,” he said.

“The reason €5million was pledged was to cover over the cracks, in the sense that we haven’t got the personnel out there.

“Again society is being fooled that the Gardaí are fully resourced – but we are not fully resourced.”