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Drugs boss Christy Kinahan Snr can be tried in Spain on false passport charge in his absence

Prosecutors confirmed last week they are seeking a prison sentence of four years for the 65-year-old

Christy Kinahan Snr

Gerard CouzensSunday World

Spanish officials have admitted Christy Kinahan Snr will not be tried in the “near future” for passport fraud.

But they have indicated the ‘Dapper Don’s trial could still go ahead in his absence if he fails to show.

Prosecutors confirmed last week they are seeking a prison sentence of four years for the 65-year-old on charges laid following his Operation Shovel arrest more than a decade ago.

The jail demand, two years for each of the two fraud charges he is facing, is contained in a five-page indictment submitted to a Costa del Sol court.

Prosecution sources confirmed today the convicted Dublin-born drug dealer was obliged to attend his trial in person because of the prison time he could face if convicted.

One said: “According to article 786.1 of Spain’s Law of Criminal Procedure Mr Kinahan Snr has to attend the trial because sentences exceeding two years in prison have been requested.”

The source, appearing to rule out a court summons for early next year, added: “No trial date yet has yet been sent but it won’t be soon.”

Another confirmed the same legislation that made Kinahan Snr’s attendance compulsory also lays the ground for the trial to go ahead if he decides to stay put at his Dubai bolthole.

Judges would hear submissions from prosecutors and his defence lawyer and an “unjustified absence” would not be cause to stay the proceedings according to the Criminal Procedure Act.

The Irishman is one of five of the original Operation Shovel suspects who face trial despite the collapse of the drug trafficking and money laundering allegations against the likes of Christy Kinahan Snr and his sons Daniel and Christopher.

Dan Kinahan

Prosecutors allege in their indictment he used a British passport in the name of Michael Leslie Swift to board flight Iberia IB6205 bound for Rio de Janeiro on April 29 2010 after using the same “false identity” to reserve the ticket and obtain the boarding card.

The second fraud charge against Kinahan Snr and co-accused Robert Edward Phillips and James Gregory Naughton relates to the police interception in Benahavis near Marbella on June 15 2010 of an allegedly falsified passport inside a lunch box.

The passport was in the name of a man who had died in Ireland on March 23, 2002, but contained Christy Kinahan Snr’s picture.

The indictment says: “The photograph of Christopher Kinahan Snr had been inserted after he allegedly provided his own photo for the confection of this falsified passport.”

As well as a two-year prison sentence for each offence he has been charged with, prosecutors have told the court in Estepona they are seeking fines for Kinahan Snr totalling around €6500 and an obligation to pay a share of the court costs if convicted.

Naughton and Phillips have also been told state prosecutors want a two-year prison sentence for them if convicted.

Jasvinder Singh Kamoo, said to have played a key money laundering role by police investigators in a report highlighted by the Spanish press in their initial coverage of Operation Shovel after the arrests, faces trial for using fake number plates on a Mercedes.

Prosecutors have confirmed in their indictment made public last week they are also seeking a two-year prison sentence.

A fifth man, 37-year-old Ross Gerard Browning, is facing trial for unlawful possession of a weapon and prosecutors who have indicted him now say they are seeking a jail term of two years and nine months.

The Criminal Assets Bureau have described the key Kinahan cartel lieutenant as being “at the heart of the €1 billion transnational Kinahan Organised Crime Group.”

The fallout from Operation Shovel has been dragging on for years.

Alfredo Rubalcaba, Spain’s Home Secretary when the Kinahans were held in May 2010 on the Costa del Sol as part of the high-profile operation, linked them at the time to a string of murders when he congratulated police after the raids.

In its early stages the judicial probe focused on allegations of drugs and weapons trafficking.

It emerged in 2014 a judge probing Christy Kinahan Snr and a gang of suspected accomplices including his two sons, had decided to drop her behind-closed-doors investigation into those crimes and focus solely on other allegations they were facing including money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

In September 2020 it was confirmed the money laundering and criminal association facets of the criminal investigation had been mothballed - and only five of the original 31 detainees told they now face trial for less crimes.

US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin announced there was a $5 million reward for key information leading to the Kinahan gang being dismantled in April after the US government hit Christy Snr and his two sons as well as four other men it identified as key associates with sanctions.

One of the seven, British-born Irish passport holder Johnny Morrissey, was arrested at a rented Costa del Sol flat in September on suspicion of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang.

He remains on remand in prison.

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