Cops raid Kinahan’s MGM Gym in Marbella
POLICE in Spain raided a gym linked to the Kinahan crime cartel at dawn today as part of a major cross-border operation.
Civil Guard officers forced entry to the MGM Gym in Puerto Banus near Marbella as scores of gardai began searches at several locations in Dublin accompanied by Spanish officers.
Detectives used bolt cutters to force their way into the gym - said to be controlled by the Kinahan family which is involved in a deadly feud with the rival Hutch family - just after 7am local time before taking away cash and computers.
Investigators were spotted loading several boxes into unmarked vans parked on the pavement outside the gym.
They also used sniffer dogs believed to have been trained to hunt out cash and drugs.
It is thought other simultaneous raids were carried out at a number of other locations on the Costa del Sol, although there was no immediate official response from the Civil Guard.
A spokesman at the national HQ and a regional HQ in Malaga said a statement would be released later in the day.
None of the detectives at the scene would make any comment.
The gym was empty when the police turned up in more than half a dozen unmarked cars and Guardia Civil vans. A caretaker arrived to find the door had been opened and scores of officers inside.
Clients arriving later in the morning were turned away and told the gym would not be opening for business until tomorrow/Thursday.
The operation lasted around four hours till just after 11am.
There was no sign of Daniel Kinahan, who is reported to have taken over control of the family’s business empire from dad Christy.
Police remained at the premises after taking away property from inside but made no immediate official comment on the large-scale operation.
Several police and Guardia Civil vehicles were spotted at the scene, including a van used by Guardia Civil forensics experts.
Former Irish, British and European Middleweight Champion Matthew Macklin, a pal of the Kinahans who is not involved in crime, founded the MGM Gym.
A source said: “The officers said they were looking for two men who used to use the gym but no-one believes them. They took everything, computers, paperwork, the lot.”
Innocent holidaymaker Trevor O’Neill was gunned down in the Majorcan resort of Costa de la Calma last month in front of his family after being confused for a member of the Hutch family who is not linked to crime.
The ongoing feud between the Hutch and Kinahan families has been blamed for nine deaths in Spain and Ireland.
In February gangster David Byrne was shot dead at Dublin’s Regency Hotel during the the weigh-in of Jamie Kavanagh, the boxing pal of Daniel Kinahan.
Byrne, 32, was aligned to Christy Kinahan’s gang.
The shooting, which followed the September 2014 killing of Jamie’s gangster dad Gerard at a pub near Marbella, was seen as retaliation for the assassination in September last year of Gary Hutch in Miraflores near Fuengirola.
Gary’s uncle Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch has been blamed for ordering the hit on Byrne as part of an all-out war with the Kinahan gang.
His brother Eddie was shot dead three days after the Regency Hotel attack in a feud which one major criminal has warned would only end when Daniel Kinahan.
Daniel Kinahan and David Byrne
Reports in May said a Garda sent to Spain to interview survivors of the Regency Hotel attack was physically intimated when he visited the gym.
A Sunday newspaper said the detective sent to the Costa del Sol to gather evidence faced such hostility Spanish cops escorting him moved to draw their guns.
Today’s operation in Ireland and Spain was the second police assault on the Kinahan family’s interests.
Christy Kinahan and his two sons Daniel and Christopher were among more than 20 suspects arrested during Costa del Sol dawn raids in May 2010.
Spain’s Home Secretary at the time said a “mafia family” had been taken down.
Allegations of drugs and arms trafficking against the Irishmen and their alleged accomplices were dropped more than two years ago as part of an ongoing court probe following the arrests.
'The Dapper Don' Christy Kinahan
The probe continued to focus only on allegations of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.
Julio Martinez, chief prosecutor for the Marbella area, admitted in March the investigation into the Kinahans had been much less incriminating than expected.
He told Spanish newspaper El Pais: “The expectations were very high but the results have not been as satisfactory as we’d anticipated.”
But he said he was confident the case against Christy and his sons Daniel and Christopher would “not take many months” to come to trial.
He told the paper some loose ends were being tidied up and the Spanish authorities were awaiting a response to official inquiries sent to Britain via Rogatory Commissions.
Alfredo Rubalcaba, Spain’s Home Secretary when the Kinahans were arrested along with alleged right-hand man John Cunningham as part of Operation Shovel, linked the alleged gang ringleaders to a string of murders when he congratulated police after the raids.
Although he did not name the suspects, he said at the time: “This was an operation against an important, well-known mafia of organised crime, which has operated in different countries and which is being linked to various murders and with a number of crimes from drug trafficking to people trafficking.
“It is a mafia family relatively well-known in the United Kingdom, a little less known in Spain, but they are established on the Costa del Sol.”
Arrests also took place in May 2010 in Ireland and the UK.