Gang enforcer Liam Byrne leads crime gang's convoy ahead of boxing bout
HEAVYWEIGHT Costa Cartel brothers Christy and Daniel Kinahan enjoyed the Irish sunshine this week, under the watchful eye of henchman Liam Byrne.
The Sunday World was watching as the brothers swept into Dublin to head up another fight-night extravaganza.
But the pair went nowhere without a convoy of heavies in souped-up vehicles keeping a close watch.
Byrne is one of the leading figures in the Irish arm of the Kinahan crime syndicate. Daniel and Christy Jnr mainly operate from their base on the Costa del Crime but were in town to promote their latest boxing spectacle this weekend, Byrne arrived at a weigh-in for the boxing event on Dublin’s quays in his €200,000 customised ‘Autobiography’ Range Rover, the same high-powered motor our team snapped him in last week as he flashed his bling around Dublin’s inner city.
Gardai believe Byrne and his associates are key links in a chain of drug and weapons shipments into Ireland for the Kinahan mob. Detectives suspect boxing wasn’t the only thing they were talking about when they met up this week.
The Kinahans have become big players in boxing in recent years through their MGM boxing gym based in Marbella which has Tipperary Tornado Matthew Macklin as its figurehead.
They were in town to promote the New Beginnings boxing night at the National Stadium in Dublin last night which featured a host of boxers including Jamie Conlon, Declan Geraghty, Anthony Fitzgerald and Stephen Ormond.
The event was organised by MGM in association with Frank Warren promotions.
This week Kinahan was staying at a property in Lucan and had been travelling around Dublin in a convoy of cars protected by heavies like Byrne.
Well-known criminal Greg Lynch is also reported to have been travelling around in the convoy with members of the Kinahan cartel.
Gardai seized €1.7m worth of cannabis linked to the gang last week but the loss is likely to have only cost them a fraction of that amount.
It is estimated that the cartel is worth over €500m.
The gang has been linked to numerous murders in recent years including the killing of Paul Kavanagh in Drumcondra, in April and the assassination of his brother Gerard ‘Hatchet’ Kavanagh in the Costa del Sol last year.
Following the murder of Hatchet Kavanagh, Daniel Kinahan bizarrely made an application to a Spanish court asking for armed police protection.
His lawyer also claimed Kinahan didn’t even known Kavanagh and had no “personal or working relationship” with him.
“The only link between Daniel and Gerard Kavanagh is that they’re Irish,” he said.
Macklin, who is close to the Kinahans but has no involvement in crime, said it was the first of many ventures aimed at uniting professional boxing in Ireland.
The Kinahan cartel has been one of the leading heavyweights in Europe when it comes to organised crime and Daniel is now determined to become a big hitter in the boxing world.
He trains a number of boxers at his gym in Marbella. He recently expanded the MGM empire to Scotland where a sister gym was opened recently.
There is no suggestion any of the boxing stars linked to the gym have any involvement in crime.
However, former champion boxer Jamie Moore, who was training Macklin, was unintentionally sucked in when he was shot in a case of mistaken identity outside Kinahan’s Costa del Sol mansion last year.
Following the shooting, Moore said he had known Kinahan for a number of months.
“I’ve just seen him in the gym with the lads. He’s a great bloke,” he said.
When the gunman approached him he said he thought it was a prank.
“It happened so quick, I said: ‘Aw, f**k off!’ and carried on walking. Then I turned around and said: ‘You know what? That’s not even funny.’ And then he shot me in the hip. Bang. I hit the floor,” said Moore.
Despite the Kinahans involvement in organised crime the gym has an air of respectability in the sporting world and former footballers including John Hartson and Graham Kanavagh have been pictured there in recent months.
Meanwhile, Dublin criminals are expected to flock to Las Vegas next Saturday to see Conor McGregor take on Chad Mendes in the UFC.
Like boxing, gangland figures are big fans of UFC and regularly attend fights involving McGregor.