NewsCrime Desk

Kinahan associate flees to Dubai as gardai close in

Sean McGovern
Sean McGovern

KINAHAN CARTEL associate Sean McGovern has headed to Dubai after becoming the focus of a major Garda investigation – including having his home ‘frozen’ by CAB chiefs.

The Crumlin man, who was shot in the Regency Hotel attack, escaped to the Middle East last month, where cartel leader Daniel Kinahan spends most of his time A source has told the Sunday World that Gardaí had been hoping to quiz McGovern about a serious crime committed by the cartel.

It is believed that McGovern became a person of interest in relation to the crime, which has already seen serious charges brought against one criminal.

However, McGovern’s move to the United Arab Emirates – who have no clear extradition treaty with the EU – will make Garda attempts to question him much more difficult.

The Sunday World has also learned that McGovern’s Crumlin home has been frozen as part of the Criminal Asset Bureau’s (CAB) investigation into the crime gang’s finances.

CAB officers have alleged that the property, which was bought for €150,000, but renovated for almost double that amount, was bought with the proceeds of crime.

The house on Kildare Road had almost €250,000 worth of renovation and remodelling work done to it and looks a world away from the modest council home it was when first purchased in March 2015.

 

The CAB also uncovered a complex scheme in which McGovern used a Mauritian Trust Fund to acquire the Crumlin house.

Money was funnelled into the off-shore account located in the east African island before being used to purchase a number of assets.

 It is not known the exact figure that was available in the account, but sources have said that there was a “substantial amount of money” lodged into the fund in recent years.

A Garda investigation into the cartel and their finances has also established that McGovern and his partner, Anita Freeman, purchased flights to Dubai via the U.K. in recent weeks.

Their home on Kildare Road, Crumlin, was frozen by the High Court on February 16 last.

Although McGovern has no major criminal convictions, he is well-known to Gardaí and is a childhood pal of gangland figure Liam Byrne.

He first appeared on the Garda radar as part of the investigation into the Crumlin-Drimnagh feud when he was in his late teens.

He was also Byrne’s business partner in a car sales business which is the focus of a CAB investigation.

However, his closeness to the Byrne clan has had its drawbacks for McGovern.

In February 2016, McGovern was lucky to escape with his life when he was shot in the leg during the Regency Hotel attack. Since then, Gardaí believe he has continued to be at risk of assassination from the Hutch gang.

 

Like Byrne, McGovern is known in Crumlin for his love of the good life – and in particular for his love of cars.

This week, CAB also claimed in court that McGovern and Anita Freeman are living a lifestyle far beyond what could have been their known income.

McGovern, CAB said, took 16 flights in 2016 to locations including Malaga, Amsterdam, Birmingham and Dubai.

Ms Freeman had taken eight flights in 2016, and in recent days had flown to Manchester before travelling on to Dubai, CAB said in a sworn statement.

This week in the High Court solicitors on behalf of McGovern claimed that he had no other assets apart from the property and that the couple and their two young children are living off allowances from the State.

Perma-tanned criminal Liam Roe was this week also denied free legal aid in relation to the CAB proceedings.

Roe has stated that he is not in receipt of any income or any social welfare, has no assets other than ones that were seized, and receives funding from his father.

The items seized from Roe include an Audi A5 car and a Kawasaki motorbike worth a total of €38,000.