Boxer Michael Conlan wants image removed from MTK Global website after Kinahan sanctioned

A spokesperson for the Olympic medal-winning boxer says he has 'no links' to MTK or Hoopoe Sports, named by US authorities as a firm which will be hit with sanctions

Michael Conlon has said he is working to have his image and name removed from the MTK Global website

Jamie McDowell

Irish Olympic hero Michael Conlan has moved to have his name and image removed from the website of controversial sports management firm MTK Global, which is linked to cartel boss Daniel Kinahan.

The featherweight fighter released the statement to the Sunday World as pressure continues to mount on MTK Global and their connection with Kinahan.

Conlan also said he was working to have his image removed from the website of Hoopoe Business Partners, one of the organisations named by US authorities as being linked to Daniel Kinahan.

Yesterday, US officials put a $5m (€4.6m) price tag on information leading to the arrests of senior members of the Kinahan crime gang as well as imposing Russia-style sanctions against seven alleged senior cartel members, including Daniel Kinahan himself.

They also placed three companies on the US commercial sanctions list - including Hoopoe Sports.

Hoopoe, based in the UAE, is run by Ian Dixon from Dublin, who is an associate of Daniel Kinahan.

Pictured: Ian Thomas Dixon

A spokesperson for Mr Conlan said: "Michael has no links to MTK Global. Him (sic) and Jamie set up their independent management and promotional company, Conlan Boxing, in July 2021 and Michael is managed by Jamie through this.

"Michael hadn't heard of Hoopoe Sports until yesterday and has no connection with them.

"Michael wasn't aware that he was on the MTK website or the Hoopoe Sports website until yesterday and is taking the necessary steps to get his inclusion removed."

Michael Conlan Photo: PA Wire

In their statement yesterday, officials from the Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned Hoopoe Sports shareholder Ian Thomas Dixon (32), who they described as a member of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group.

“Ian Dixon has arranged multiple payments on behalf of Daniel Kinahan, as well as moved bulk currency on behalf of Daniel Kinahan in Ireland and the United Kingdom,” the US Department of the Treasury said.

“Ian Dixon also oversees a fund on behalf of Daniel Kinahan and keeps track of money owed by a narcotics trafficker.”

The Americans say that Dixon “owns or controls, directly or indirectly” the Hoopoe Sports company in UAE.

“Ian Dixon is a 49 percent shareholder, and he also receives 80 percent of Hoopoe Sports’ profits. Ian Dixon is the sole manager of Hoopoe Sports and has full executive power over the company,” the US Department of the Treasury have claimed.

Belfast-born Conlan (30) won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics in London and was named RTE Sportsperson of the Year in 2015. He turned professional in 2016 and has won 16 of his 17 fights.

Mr Conlan said he hadn't heard of Hoopoe Business Brokers until yesterday

The Treasury Department in the US yesterday stated they believe Kinahan is a key player in the “highly murderous” Kinahan crime cartel, with Dubai being described as a “hub” for the gang, which has been linked to at least 18 killings.

US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin announces the $5m (€4.6m) bounty and sanctions on the Kinahan crime gang. Photo: Frank McGrath.

Kinahan has worked as an adviser to heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who is due to fight in a world title fight with Dillian Whyte at Wembley on April 23.

Both Fury and Kinahan have been photographed together recently and Fury has credited Kinahan for organising a fight with Anthony Joshua.

Yesterday Garda Commissioner Drew Harris urged sports stars connected to the Kinahan cartel to reconsider their relationship.

He said: “In respect of individuals and very prominent sporting individuals who are obviously in some way connected with this grouping, I would say you need to look to your sport, you need to look to your fans, and you need to think of your own reputation.”

Mr Harris also said senior members of the cartel cannot “hide from justice forever”.

Assessment: Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

Fellow Belfast fighter Carl Frampton has previously stated he worked for the company in an “advisory” capacity, but that he has since retired from boxing.

MTK Global have previously denied Daniel Kinahan has any involvement in the company. .

Another MTK boxer is Scottish world champion Josh Taylor.

Just last month the President of the World Boxing Council, Mauricio Sulaimán, publicly backed Kinahan in a statement.

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