NewsCrime Desk

We reveal Kinahan cartel’s new HQ in dirty money Mecca

Crime DeskBy Nicola Tallant
Ras Al Khaimah's free trade zone
Ras Al Khaimah's free trade zone

THIS IS the luxury desert outpost that is the new home to the Irish Mafia.

Bungling Spanish cops finally kicked in the doors of the Kinahan Cartel HQ this week in a dawn raid and a blaze of publicity.

However, the Sunday World can reveal that the dramatic ‘crackdown’ came weeks after a financial restructure of the organisation which moved it to a secretive free trade zone in the United Arab Emirates.

The sector known as Ras Al Khaimah, which is 45 minutes from Dubai, offers zero taxation and absolute anonymity for business owners, making it a mecca for dirty money.

In extraordinarily bad timing, the Guardia Civil managed to move on the Kinahans just weeks after they completed a huge overhaul of the MGM gym and its intellectual property rights, establishing a new base in the Gulf’s offshore financial zone.

Ras Al Khaimal is located a short drive from the upmarket Palm area of Dubai, where Christy Kinahan Snr is believed to have settled with his wife and young family after quitting Spain for good over the twin threats of a Europol probe and a deadly feud with the Hutch clan.

Ras Al Khaimah's free trade zone offers total anonymity for business owners

The Palm islands are an artificially built playground for the rich and famous, complete with designer shops, private beaches and clubs.

The Don’s son Daniel, now running the mob, is also moving between the UAE, Birmingham and Portugal.

Daniel Kinahan 

He has not been in Spain for months and as this exclusive photograph shows, his home, where his pal Jamie Moore was shot, is locked up.

This week the Guardia Civil smashed through the doors of MGM and seized documents, computers and cash in a series of co-ordinated swoops with Gardaí.

Addresses in Dublin were raided simultaneously and cash, computers and ID papers were removed as part of a crackdown on the cartel’s assets. The biggest fish caught in the operation was James Quinn, who has been arrested in connection with the murder of Gary Hutch – the killing that sparked the deadly gangland war.

James Quinn

However, the Sunday World can now reveal that the move against the Kinahans may be too little too late.

Our documents show how MGM Macklin’s Gym Marbella filed its application to trademark all its goods, services and even upcoming events on July 20 last to the Emirates.

The application, which has been accepted and published with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK, lists the owner name MGM Middle East FZE with an address to a PO box at Ras Al Khaimah.

Months previous, the gym announced a new CEO, Scottish lawyer Sam Kynoch. He was photographed along with mob boss Daniel Kinahan, who has taken a back seat from the business since the Regency Hotel shootings, during an MGM weigh in.

Documents filed on July 4 last show that ‘MGM Events Limited’ in Scotland lists joint shareholdings between Kynoch and the same Middle East company.

While a massive assets recovery assault is ongoing into the Cartel in Ireland, it will have little effect without the international co-operation of Spain and the UAE.

Two years ago the U.K. secured its first enforcement confiscation order in Dubai when it pocketed over stg£300,000 from the sale of an apartment there belonging to a convicted British criminal.

The senior members of the Cartel, mainly from Dublin, are still in and out of Spain keeping the multi-million drug business afloat, but most are travelling through neighbouring Portugal to avoid Spanish airport controls.

Yacht seized in connection with Kinahan cartel raids 

It is understood that the Dapper Don had been planning his retirement to the Emirates for years.  

He had originally invested in the doomed ‘The World’ development of reclaimed islands constructed in the shape of a map of the globe. Kinahan is understood to have had his eye on Spain, but the project sank before it was completed.

After the 2010 multi agency Operation Shovel – which was billed as the investigation to shut down his Cartel – he has re-emerged bigger than ever.

Despite being under investigation for running an enormous drug, money laundering and weapon importation business, we were able to photograph the Dapper Don in a sushi bar in Puerto Banus three years later as Spanish cops looked on.

Christy 'The Dapper Don' Kinahan 

It was then the centre of his operation and was amazingly just a short stroll to where cops this week seized an Irish registered yacht – ‘Old Maggie’ – which was linked to Quinn, the mob’s alleged hitman on the Costa.

While the Operation Shovel investigation continued, we revealed how the Cartel were operating with virtual impunity on the Costa del Sol and were openly using the MGM gym as a HQ.

Yet it was never raided and it continued to expand its business, opening more gyms in Scotland, Birmingham and Liverpool.

It is fronted by boxer Matthew Macklin, who has no involvement in organised crime but is a personal friend of Daniel Kinahan and socialised with Gary Hutch

Even after the Regency Hotel attack when David Byrne was shot dead and the Kinahan Cartel and their links to boxing were reported around the world, the Spanish police dragged their heels on raiding the gym.