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links severed Daniel Kinahan’s dreams of ‘sports-washing’ his image scuppered after emails to Irish diplomats

Emails containing news reports of the 42-year-old's criminal past were exchanged with our embassies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Kinahan with Bob Arum

Kinahan with Bob Arum

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Daniel Kinahan

Crime boss Daniel Kinahan's dreams of 'sports-washing' his image as a 'special advisor' in Bahrain were scuppered after six emails were sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs to Irish diplomats in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi detailing reports of his criminality.

Following the announcement on May 14 last year that the gang boss had been appointed special sports advisor to the KHK combat sports group, the emails containing news reports of the 42-year-old's criminal past were exchanged with our embassies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

It's understood information contained in these emails was then further disseminated by Irish diplomats through correspondence with high-ranking dignitaries in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the Bahraini government.

Ireland does not have an embassy in Bahrain, with our diplomats in Saudi Arabia and the UAE being our closest points of contact with the island nation.

Crucially, the Bahraini government announced it was terminating the agreement between KHK and Dublin-born drugs kingpin Kinahan on June 16 - five days after the largest batch of news reports was despatched from Dublin on June 11.

Details contained in the email stream highlight for the first time the crucial role Irish newspapers and broadcasters have played in documenting Kinahan's crimes and preventing his efforts to legitimise himself through sport.

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Our reporter has been on Kinahan case for decades

Our reporter has been on Kinahan case for decades

Our reporter has been on Kinahan case for decades

Our reporter has been on Kinahan case for decades

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Our reporter has been on Kinahan case for decades

And Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond, who featured heavily in the news reports, told the Sunday World the newspaper article would have been a vital tool for our diplomats in conveying to Bahrain just how enmeshed in gangland Daniel Kinahan is.

"The role the Irish media and publications such as the Sunday World have played in documenting the criminality of Daniel Kinahan is hugely impactful and hugely valuable as a resource to the Irish Government in relaying information abroad.

"There was a body of work already in existence for our diplomats to share with their counterparts in Abu Dhabi and the UAE that allowed them to say this is not just us saying this - this is who Daniel Kinahan really is."

A timeline of the email stream, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show how the first news report on Kinahan was exchanged between Irish diplomats on May 17 - three days after KHK announced Kinahan's status as 'special sports advisor'.

That announcement sparked outrage among law enforcement and political figures in this country, with Fine Gael TD Mr Richmond correctly calling it out as an attempt by Kinahan to sports-wash his criminality.

KHK is run by owned by Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of the King of Bahrain.

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Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Khalifa

Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Khalifa

Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Khalifa

And Kinahan's appointment to such a prestigious position was seen as an attempt to align himself with a foreign government with the apparent intention of conferring legitimacy on his boxing interests.

The May 17 email concerning Kinahan was sent by Irish ambassador Aidan Cronin at the embassy in Abu Dhabi to a list of Irish diplomats based in Riyadh.

It contained a single newspaper report outlining the fact Kinahan had been appointed as special advisor to KHK while pointing out this had occurred in the same week the Kinahan Organised Crime Group had been named in open Irish court for the first time.

On May 22, a second email was sent by the Department's Middle East Unit to the embassies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

The newspaper report contained in this email detailed how Kinahan was at the centre of the new combat sports deal between KHK Sports and the international boxing promotion company MTK Global.

It detailed how Kinahan was also working to put in place a fight in the Middle East between British boxers Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua for the world heavyweight title.

But, it continued, these developments had occurred while Kinahan had been named by the gardai in court actions as a key gangland figure in Ireland and that according to evidence put by the Criminal Assets Bureau before the High Court, Daniel Kinahan, while based in Dubai, was one of two leaders of the Kinahan cartel.

On June 11, four emails concerning Daniel Kinahan were exchanged between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Dublin and our embassies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.

The first was sent from DFA press relations to the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the DFA's Middle East Unit.

This email contained a link to a TV news report detailing how then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had gone on record to state the DFA was now in contact with the United Arab Emirates regarding Kinahan, and that Mr Varadkar had made the public statement after Tyson Fury publicly thanked Kinahan for brokering his fight with Anthony Joshua.

A second email sent the same day contained a link to a radio interview with Fine Gael TD Neal Richmond saying he would encourage the Tanaiste to talk to Bahrain to highlight his concerns about Daniel Kinahan's involvement in the proposed boxing match there.

On the same day, three further newspaper reports on Kinahan were sent from the DFA press relations to the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Middle East Unit.

In one of these reports, Colly Barr, the father of Kinahan murder victim Michael Barr, called for a boycott of Bahrain as long as its association with Kinahan continued.

A second newspaper article related to graffiti sprayed near the embassy belt in Ballsbridge depicting the words: "Get Cancer (Kinahan's nickname) out of Dubai."

And a third newspaper report again detailed how Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond was urging Tanaiste Simon Coveney to appeal to authorities in Dubai, where Kinahan was based, to hold him to account.

A fourth email sent the same day from DFA press relations to the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Middle East Unit contained a link to an in-depth RTE package presented by crime correspondent Paul Reynolds, detailing Kinahan's criminality and his attempts to legitimise himself via boxing and his position in Bahrain.

No details of meetings or correspondence which occurred between Irish diplomats in the Middle East and Bahraini government officials - in and around the timing of the email stream - have been divulged by the DFA.

Among other reasons, the DFA said it was not disclosing this information on the basis the existence or nonexistence of any related records could reasonably be expected to impair or prejudice the fairness of criminal proceedings in a court or of civil proceedings in a court or other tribunal.

Five days after the emails were exchanged on June 11, KHK Sports asked the Bahrani government to make the announcement it was cutting ties with Kinahan in a statement specifically sent to media outlets which had previously reported critically on the Dublin- born crime boss.

Citing its "integrity and deep-rooted principles in the sports industry", KHK said it "has discontinued engagement with Daniel Kinahan and he is no longer an adviser to KHK Sports".


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