| 9.3°C Dublin

crime proceeds Graham ‘The Wig’ Whelan, Kinahan cartel associate, jailed for money laundering

The 39-year-old was handed a three year sentence with the final 18 months suspended


Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Graham 'The Wig' Whelan

Kinahan cartel associate Graham 'The Wig' Whelan has been jailed for 18 months for money laundering offences, including possession of a €28,000 watch.

The 39-year-old had pleaded guilty last July to participating in the actions of an organised crime gang by laundering money for the group and being in possession of €1,200 in cash and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak gentleman's watch, the proceeds of crime at the Intercontinental Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, on January 31, 2019.

Whelan also admitted to paying €2,140 for a three-night stay at the hotel at Room 342, knowing or believing that the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

This morning the Special Criminal Court sentenced the accused, of Walkinstown Avenue in Dublin 12, to a total of three years imprisonment, suspending the final 18 months.

Counsel for Whelan had asked that the sentence begin after Christmas but that, after the State said it would object to this, he was led away to begin his prison term immediately.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt, presiding, today noted that Whelan made a number of comments when initially arrested by gardaí.

The Indo Daily: Nicola Tallant on the rise of the Kinahan mafia

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Spotify

This included him telling them that he got the cash from "up his Swiss roll" and that they could keep it.

He also told detectives "I'm a dangerous criminal" and to "look me up".

The court heard this was reference to the accused being jailed for six years over a €1.6m drug seizure at a hotel in Dublin's city centre.

The infamous bust, carried out at the Holiday Inn when Whelan was just 17, was seen as the beginning of the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud which led to 16 people being murdered.

Mr Justice Hunt said that Graham Whelan was easier to deal with later once he had been brought to the garda station and that his behaviour in the hotel room was as a result of consuming drugs and alcohol.

The court heard he has 33 previous convictions including the prison term served for the €1.6m drug seizure, as well as for violent disorder, criminal damage and assault causing harm.

He also has a conviction for grievous bodily harm over a Spanish bar brawl involving two other people in 2016, for which he received a two-year suspended sentence.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

The court previously heard that Graham Whelan's partner died by suicide last year with Mr Justice Hunt saying it took "an enormous personal tragedy to bring about a change in his lifestyle".

He added that the principal mitigation was the accused's early guilty plea.

The judge said that money laundering was an essential component of a wide-range of criminal activity and that, while Whelan is a father-of-four children and that the court must have regard to what effect a custodial sentence would have on them, this is not a reason in itself not to imprison him.

Mr Justice Hunt sentenced Whelan to three years imprisonment on each count, to run concurrently, and suspended the last 18 months of each sentence.

This, he said, would be suspended for four years so the defendant could demonstrate his change in lifestyle on a longer term.

The court said that given that Whelan is a primary carer to his children they would ask what date the prison term would commence

Michael Bowman SC, defending, citing his client's family commitments asked if the matter could be left over until the New Year.

The court heard there would be an objection to this by the State and, after a brief consultation, Graham Whelan was led away by prison guards to begin his sentence.

Mr Bowman also asked the court to recommend that his client is imprisoned in Mountjoy jail.

Whelan has been a key target for gardaí over the past three decades due to his links to the Kinahan organised crime group and had spent his time between Liverpool and Spain before returning to Dublin in recent years.

He was also arrested over the 2006 murder of hitman Gary Bryan, shot dead as part of the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.

Whelan and his associate David Byrne, shot dead in the Regency Hotel gun attack in 2016, were quizzed over the Bryan murder but neither man was ever charged in relation to the investigation.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Top Videos