Kinahan and Hutch gang rivals have finances and personal lives laid bare in court as CAB fights to strip former friends of their assets
This photograph shows the stunning 1.2-acre gated compound – complete with horses and a vast warehouse – which the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) claim Browning built after amassing a fortune from criminality.
Gym-owner Browning was described in court by CAB as the Kinahan cartel’s principal man in Ireland.
The Sunday Worldcan reveal ties between Browning and one of Dublin’s most-feared criminal gangs were aired for the first time during the court proceedings.
The case detailed how one of Browning’s closest associates, convicted drug mule Ian O’Heaire, acted as a link between him and the notorious Gucci Gang.
The mob, based in West Dublin, is headed up by a young criminal known as Mr Flashy and are responsible for a wave of violence.
CAB say O’Heaire was used to buy a property at the centre of the case, which saw the bureau go after €1.7m of assets tied to senior Kinahan mobster Browning.
CAB are seeking to seize a range of assets, including two properties, plots of land, cars, jewellery and luxury watches it claims were bought with money from Browning.
O’Heaire, whose Finglas home was raided in 2018 as part of the major CAB offensive against Browning, was one of a number of criminals whose dealings were laid bare during several cases this week.
The court heard how O’Heaire is linked to the Gucci Gang. The Sunday World understands that he had been supplying volatile crime boss Mr Flashy and his associates with drugs.
O’Heaire was previously jailed in Australia after a near-death experience in the sky.
The Finglas man told officers in Australia that he had swallowed 27 balloons filled with cocaine before embarking on a trip half-way around the world in order to pay a gambling debt.
Two cases which reached court this week showed how gardaí have been working constantly to disrupt the gangs and strip them of their riches, and also highlighted the close ties of the rival factions in the deadly Hutch-Kinahan feud.
Loyal Hutch henchman James ‘Mago’ Gately and Kinahan associate Barry Finnegan were among the rivals who worked together prior to the murder of Gary Hutch in September 2015, which kicked off the bloody gang war.
Gately, who twice escaped assassination attempts by the Kinahans, also had his financial and business records exposed this week as he sought legal aid to fight in a separate CAB case against him.
He had worked as a barber and ran a sweet shop, but what wasn’t mentioned in court was that he had once worked with Barry Finnegan.
They had run a business together in Dublin’s north inner city before each threw their lot in with opposing factions.
Finnegan was named in the CAB case against Browning as the partner of Ross Browning’s sister Cheryl.
He was described as a senior member of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.
It is not the first time Finnegan was referred to in a CAB case, having previously been named in 2017 as an associate of Liam Byrne and a suspect in the murder of Eddie Hutch Snr.
Just how the former criminal colleagues had turned on each other was also shown by the fact that a motorbike found at an ‘escape chute’ at Browning’s home was registered to Stephen Fowler.
Fowler, who had previously been jailed over an €880,000 cannabis grow-house, was convicted last year for his role in a plot to kill Hutch rival ‘Mago’ Gately after offering a safe-house to assassin Imre Arakas.
Browning had been part of the Kinahan gang well before the feud shootings started, having come to Garda attention during Operation Shovel in 2010.
He was one of several people arrested in the multinational police operation aimed at the gang, but which ultimately failed.
Browning was described by CAB this week as being at the heart of a €1billion crime gang and was its “principal representative” in Ireland.
CAB says Browning had tried to hide his criminal cash by using family members to disguise his interest in various properties, vehicles and jewellery.
As well as his sister, Ross Browning’s mother, Julie Conway, was also referred to in his CAB case this week, as she resides in one of the targeted properties with her partner, ex-garda David O’Brien.
She says home renovations, worth around €330,000 according to CAB, were funded by “all me and Dave” – including €40,000 loans from St Raphael’s Garda Credit Union.
Julie Conway also claimed that she acquired two small plots of land in Rush, Co. Dublin, with money that she had also borrowed.
CAB has also claimed that a house purchased in 2012 in Deanstown Road, Finglas, by Browning’s grandfather William Conway for €56,000 was also acquired, and renovated, with the money from Browning.
CAB’s claim that the property was renovated at a cost of over €200,000 was disputed. It is claimed that the property was paid for by money William Conway got after being made redundant from his bar management job, and from an award he received from the State.
The monies from the sale of that house to mobster Ian O’Heaire were used by Mr Conway to acquire lands in Garristown, North County Dublin, the court heard. O’Heaire, a relative of Mr Conway and Browning, said that he bought the house from William Conway in 2013 for €120,000.
O’Heaire who disputes CAB’s claims about the proceeds of crime being spent on the property, claims that he paid for the house out of funds he says he received in a personal injuries award.
The travel history of people connected to CAB targets has also proven to be an area where financial experts can follow the money trail.As CAB’s counsel in the Browning case, Benedict O Floinn, said in court this week, it is not the destination that matters — it’s who pays for it.
It was stated by CAB that Julie Conway used a credit card to book flights for various people connected to the Kinahans.
This included a flight from the US for a Kinahan relative in 2014 to attend the funeral of Daniel Kinahan’s mother, Jean Boylan.
Other flights booked included one for David Rock, who it was stated was a suspect in the murder of Eddie Hutch Sr, and another for a relative of convicted killer James Quinn, who is serving life in Spain.
Similarly, ‘Mago’ Gately’s travel and holidays came in for scrutiny, and CAB revealed how he and partner Charlene Lam had enjoyed ‘eye-watering’ foreign travel.
They went on two cruises, including one that started in Singapore in which they had a cabin complete with a balcony, visiting Korea, Japan and China.
Claiming to be too broke to pay for legal representation, ‘Mago’ Gately said he now has to rely on his partner to make ends meet.
She pays the mortgage on their €125,000 Coolock home which CAB says was renovated to the tune of €440,000.
Objecting to the application counsel for CAB, David Dodd, said should people “with means” be granted legal aid, it undermines the system.