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Daniel Kinahan's unprecedented rise from Dublin's inner city to Dubai

Kinahan, at an early age, was on equal standing with gangsters twice his age

Daniel Kinahan

Eamon Dillon

FROM the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin's inner-city to the millionaires' Jumeirah Palm in Dubai, Daniel Kinahan's rise to the top ranks of international drug dealing is unprecedented in Ireland's gangland.

The Kinahan Cartel have now been ranked alongside the Camorra, the Yakuza, Los Zetos and the Thieves in Law by US law enforcement agencies.

When being talked about as a dangerous and ambitious young gangster in 2000 it would have been hard to envisage the then 22-year-old as a global drugs baron.

But he already had notched up serious experience, taking over the day-to-day running of a lucrative drugs network between Ireland and Holland when his father Christy snr and his associate John Cunningham were serving time behind bars.

Young Kinahan played an equal role among serious gangsters twice his age.

After escaping prosecution over an assault on an off-duty garda in 1999 and a subsequent brief spell of custody over a road traffic offence, he left Ireland in 2002.

Polaroid taken at Terenure Garda station when Daniel Kinahan was 19 or 20

Kinahan Jnr joined the growing ranks of well-connected Irish gangsters who fled the country as the recently-formed Criminal Assets Bureau flexed its considerable muscle.

At this stage Daniel was a registered director of various companies in Ireland and the UK.

Part of his business had been trying to fix horse races to help launder the cartel's ever-increasing flow of money.

Daniel Kinahan was mentioned by name in evidence at a 2007 Old Bailey trial but was described merely as a furniture shop owner.

According to evidence, it was claimed that Kinahan was "losing patience" with a jockey who kept winning races, flying in from Spain in 2004 to give him a ticking off.

UK police issued a video-grab photo in 2007 of Kinahan with a man who was accused of race fixing.

He disappeared from public eye again until re-emerging in spectacular fashion along with Christy Snr and his brother Christy Jnr and their old associate John Cunningham in 2010 when arrested by police in Spain.

Daniel Kinahan leaves court in Estepona, Spain. Pic: Solarpix

It was part of a joint investigation with Irish, UK, Dutch, and Spanish Police in which 22 people were arrested.

Although the investigation fizzled out without any prosecutions, the information released by police showed the Kinahan Cartel were a truly global operation.

Later that year Daniel showed he hadn't yet developed his taste for publicity, running from the Sunday World as he turned up to the courthouse in Estapona where he had to sign on.

Daniel Kinahan with Nicola Tallant as he arrives back in court to sign in as part of his bail

Two years later, in April 2013, his father Christy Snr was equally tight-lipped following his release from a Belgium prison.

The Sunday World video taken that day remains the only publicly available footage of Christy Snr.

Daniel's involvement in boxing started to become clear that year with photos of him in the ring at the MGM gym in Marbella.

He did a legger again, sprinting away from the Sunday World, when approached near the MGM gym in August.

It was clear during 2014 Kinahan was comfortable openly operating and was not hiding from police or rival gangsters.

The murderous nature of the cartel was yet again made apparent the following month when Gerard 'Hatchet' Kavanagh was shot dead in Marbella despite being a close and trusted confidante of the gang.

Kinahan at this stage was in full swing with his parallel career as a boxing promoter, agent and manager turning up in corner for Matthew Macklin's fight against Jorge Heiland.

Both he and Christopher Jnr were photographed at City West at the weigh-in ahead of the fight.

Daniel must have thought he had successfully managed to morph into a legitimate businessman in July 2015 as he stood in the ring with a victorious Jamie Conlon.

It recently emerged at a CAB hearing that at this time Jim Mansfield Jnr had handed Kinahan a mansion with a €4 million price tag at Citywest over a failed plan to launder cash via an English-language school.

Whether it was arrogance or over-confidence Kinahan's decision to kill Gary Hutch in September 2015 in Spain set a chain of events in motion that culminated in this week's unprecedented show of force by international law enforcement agencies in City Hall.

It led directly to the infamous shooting at the Regency Hotel in which David Byrne was shot and Sean McGovern wounded.

Daniel Kinahan escaped by jumping out of a window during the weigh-in as members of the Hutch faction dressed in Garda tactical gear looked for their target.

Daniel Kinahan exiting Dublin Airport

There was no Garda presence at the event but Sunday World caught photos of two gunmen, one dressed as a woman, as they fled the scene.

The subsequent lavish funeral of Byrne in Dublin then had everyone's attention with Daniel being photographed along with Thomas' Bomber' Kavanagh and Fat Freddie Thompson, after which he moved permanently to Dubai.

The feud which has claimed 18 lives also would lead to 79 Kinahan-linked criminals being convicted in Ireland.

Later that year, the MTK Gym in Marbella was raided by police and cash seized. Police forces had the Kinahans in their sights.

Tyson Fury and Daniel Kinahan with Former boxer Khan alongside the pair

In what would be a major break-through for the Gardaí, raids in January 2017 in Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co. Dublin, netted an arsenal of weapons as well as key figures such 'Mr Nobody' Declan Brady.

Despite such setbacks Daniel's criminal career continued to soar with his wedding to Caoimhe Robinson at the Burj al Arab being attended by Italian, Dutch, Bosnian and South American gangsters.

During a High Court hearing in 2019 he was named by a senior garda as being the head of the Kinahan crime gang.

Despite this, in 2020 Kinahan's effort to 'sportwash' his reputation. A slick video purporting to be a documentary of the 'real truth' behind the Regency shooting depicted Daniel as the victim of a Garda and media conspiracy against him.

When Tyson Fury publicly thanked Kinahan for his role in attending to set up a big-money fight in Dubai with Anthony Joshua it caused an outcry in Ireland.

But it also underlined how Kinahan had now become a major power in the sport using his drug-money and power to wield his influence.

A BBC documentary laid bare his involvement in the sport. The photo-ops have since continued, which he orchestrates in Dubai, have seen him pose with several boxers, promoters and even politicians to give an impression of legitimacy.

One photo in 2020 with boxing promoter Bob Arum was taken in Kazakhstan. It suggests that should he over-stay his welcome in the United Arab Emirates there may others waiting to welcome him and billion-dollar network.

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