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Gardai to crack Kinahan mob’s counter-surveillance system

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Gardai to crack Kinahan mob’s counter-surveillance system

COPS will have to crack a secret underworld encryption code to bring down the Kinahan Cartel.

Politicians and senior gardaí finally vowed to get tough with the crime empire this week.

However, today we can reveal the worldwide web they will have to dismantle to bring down the ‘Dapper’ Don and his family.

An evil network radiates out from Christy Kinahan senior, who is now based in Dubai, where he is believed to have money laundering interests.

Our investigations reveal that the cartel is organised along two pillars – on one side drug dealing and murder, on the other, business and money laundering.

In charge of the first deadly pillar is Daniel Kinahan – the target of the Regency Hotel attack. At the helm of money laundering operations is his brother Christopher junior, assisted by his father’s long-time business associate Jasvinder Singh Kamoo.

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Together they oversee a network of business and property fronts – which stretches from Ireland to Brazil, and Spain to the United Arab Emirates  – used to launder drug money.

Below the Kinahans and the Dapper Don’s loyal friend John ‘the Colonel’ Cunningham is the rung of the organisation where Gary Hutch once sat as the group’s number five.

Now that place is occupied by paranoid enforcer ‘Fat’ Freddie Thompson. Next in line are the Byrnes – ‘Jaws’ and Liam – and associates such as Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, who has been advising the family since the Regency.

Up to a dozen loyal hitmen and assassins for hire are supplying the gang’s firepower in its bid to exterminate the Hutch family.

The Gardaí have also vowed to target the street dealing operation of the Kinahan Cartel. A chief target will be Greg Lynch and other mid-ranking drug lords.

However, the key to cracking the cartel will be getting past the gang’s sophisticated counter-surveillance operation.

The Sunday World has uncovered the mob’s extraordinary attempts to avoid surveillance, by encrypting phone calls using services such as those being sold to gangsters by Irish mob boss George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell.

George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell

This is the moment we caught up with the godfather of crime, here. 

Police have now received a major boost in their bid to crack gangland’s secret codes.

Dutch detectives are holding what they believe to be a treasure trove of information about Europe’s crime gangs after seizing encrypted communications from a company whose customers are a who’s who of the underworld.

The company, Ennetcom, whose owner Danny Manupassa is an associate of George ‘the Penguin’ Mitchell, was arrested on laundering and weapons possession suspicions last month.

In a statement, Wim De Bruin of the Dutch National Prosecutor’s Office said: “Police and prosecutors believe that they have captured the largest encrypted network used by organised crime in the Netherlands.”

Although the use of encrypted communications is legal, many of the network’s 19,000 users are believed to be organised criminals.

The Sunday World understands that among the users were Mitchell and his network of contacts across Europe and Ireland, including his sidekick Robbie Murphy – his closest confidante and the man Dutch police believe looks after all his drug interests.

Murphy hasn’t been on the Garda radar for almost 20 years, but surveillance operations have identified him in Amsterdam, where he has a large network of known criminals.

Members of the Kinahan Cartel are also believed to have used the encrypted phones to carry out of their intricate business of shipping drugs and firearms across Europe.

While Ennetcom is based in the Netherlands, the bulk of the company’s servers were based in Canada.  It is understood that officers are now attempting to decrypt information kept on the servers with the aid of Toronto police.

The company sold modified Blackberry mobile phones for €1,500 a piece and used its own servers for the encrypted data traffic.

The phones are widely used by crime gangs to organise appointments and shipments of product and has become a safe haven away from police methods of listening in to phone calls.

Dutch officers turned their attention on the company after the phones turned up repeatedly in investigations into drug cases and gangland killings.

In its statement, the company said: “Ennetcom regrets this course of events and insinuations towards Ennetcom. It should be clear that Ennetcom stands for freedom of privacy.”

The Sunday World can reveal that George Mitchell is hoping to muscle in on the highly-lucrative secure communications market.

He is hoping that his contacts in organised crime will buy up his service in their droves.

Late last year we tracked down the Penguin to the sleepy village of Traben Trarbach in Germany’s Mosel Valley, where he has based himself after fleeing Spain following the murder of Gary Hutch on the Costa del Sol.

We revealed the secret Cold War bunker where Mitchell and his business associate, Dutchman Hermann Xennt, have been developing their own encrypted communication service.

Surrounded by top-of-the-range CCTV cameras, high-security fencing, a communications mast and with its own manned security hut, the former military bunker is bizarre in the extreme – as is its owner Xennt, who goes everywhere with Mitchell.

The Penguin, who has just celebrated his 65th birthday, is believed to have become more and more concerned about his health and is desperate to get his dirty drug money into straight businesses so he can bequeath his fortune to his family.

The bunker boasts an impressive 5,000sq ft of impenetrable underground real estate.

And public documents obtained by the Sunday World showed that a company registered from the premises in 2014 details that its purpose is for ‘data retention’.

Dutch national Xennt has a controversial past as an alternative internet  provider and looks just like a Bond villain with his pasty white skin and long blonde hair.

Police believe Mitchell’s connection with Xennt dates back 15 years, when he was living in Holland and after he was arrested and jailed there for his part in the theft of computer parts.

This week senior gardaí vowed to travel to foreign countries to track down criminals, but also to target What’s App and Facebook, which they said criminals were using to communicate with one another.