cartel crackdown | 

EU Commissioner vows to seize Kinahan cartel assets at launch of new anti-gang plan

'They are acting in Dubai, in Spain, in Ireland, and in a lot of other countries and they have been involved in drug trafficking, in firearms, in trafficking, in murders'

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The Kinahan cartel has been named as a top target of tough new EU crime laws that aim to take down “big and dangerous criminal organisations”.

Having already been hit with a series of major US sanctions, the deadly crime gang is about to be squeezed from another direction as the European authorities prepare to mount a serious effort to seize their assets.

The European Commission has outlined details of a proposed directive on asset recovery and confiscation.

Effectively, the EU are aiming to bring in laws that will give continental police forces powers similar to the Criminal Assets Bureau have in Ireland.

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Taking to Twitter, Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, said the proposal, "allows us to more efficiently trace, freeze and confiscate the assets of crime bosses and criminal organisations like the #Kinahan cartel".

Ms Johansson said the proposed rules should enable the authorities to go after the top bosses in the really “big and dangerous criminal organisations”.

“They’re very difficult to convict, these specific persons. But now we (can) make it possible in cases for example like the Kinahan cartel, where we have a huge cartel, but the bosses (we) have been unable to really go after.

“They are acting in Dubai, in Spain, in Ireland, and in a lot of other countries and they have been involved in drug trafficking, in firearms, in trafficking, in murders.

Daniel Kinahan

“And with this new proposal it's possible to do the confiscation even without the conviction if the property is frozen based on the suspicion of crimes committed within the framework of organised crime.

“And if the court is convinced that (the frozen) property comes from this organised crime then we (have) a real new tool to go after the very highest bosses in these multinational, international, organised criminal groups.”

The proposed laws are aimed at addressing a longstanding weakness in the EU where many states lack legal frameworks to seize criminal assets.

Under the draft law, assets seizure could be allowed pending trial for suspected criminals, and also when they are "transferred by a suspected or accused person to third parties," including family members.

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said the EU plan will allow them to freeze assets linked to organised crime gangs.

Poster of Kinahan cartel leaders produced by US official

"Crime bosses use intimidation and fear to buy silence and loyalty. But usually their greed means embrace of a rich lifestyle. That always leaves a trail.

"Now the European Commission is proposing new tools to fight organised crime by following this trail of assets. This proposal allows Asset Recovery officers to trace and freeze: trace where the assets are and issue an urgent freezing order. The tracing allows assets to be found and the urgent freezing gives time for courts to act.

"Our proposal also goes after unexplained wealth. Those at the top of criminal gangs will no longer be insulated from prosecution. Lastly the criminalisation of sanctions violation mean that reaction time against rogue actors is much quicker."

This latest move will add pressure into he already beleaguered Kinahan Organised Crime Group (KOCG) after leading members were sanctioned by the US government.

In April, US law enforcement announced major sanctions against Christy Kinahan, his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr, and others connected to the Kinahans.

US authorities have also offered a $5 million reward for information that would lead to convictions.

We also revealed recent that after their assets were frozen in Dubai, the leaders of the KOCG are said to be desperately trying to move their assets out of the Gulf State.

UAE officials recently froze all assets belonging to the key members of the Kinahan Cartel following a wave of negative publicity after they were sanctioned by the US government.

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