Insider reveals how Kinahan cartel money-man Johnny Morrissey built up criminal empire in Spain
Morrissey, who has been linked to dozens of murders, ‘slept with a machete underneath his pillow’, according to the source
A former associate of Kinahan cartel money launderer Johnny Morrissey today reveals the inside story of how the Manchester-born gangster built up his criminal empire in Spain.
Speaking on condition of strict anonymity, the underworld source alleges Morrissey used Russian gangsters to extort tens of thousands of euro from innocent business owners, bleeding them dry until they could no longer pay up before having them sign over their leases.
And in a chilling insight into Morrissey’s life on the Costa after he fled Ireland in the early 2000s, the source said Morrissey, who has been linked to dozens of murders, ‘slept with a machete underneath his pillow.’
“The people we are talking about aren’t playing at what they do,” he said.
“They are cold-blooded, ruthless killers.”
Morrissey (62), who earned the nickname ‘Johnny Cash’ while running a restaurant in Kinsale in the late 1990s, fled Ireland in the early 2000s after having more than €600,000 in property and cash seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
On arrival in Spain, Morrissey set himself up on the Costa del Sol with a previous partner to Nicola Morrissey. “He owned a sports bar in El Faro,” the source said of Morrissey this week.
“He was a big man, charming and talkative, but he was always delving and testing people. Always trying to find out things he could use in the future.”
But, said the source, it was from extortion that Morrissey amassed a fortune on the Costa.
“The extortion racket in Spain isn’t like you see on Italian mafia films, you don’t go into businesses and demand money,” he said.
“Different organisations control different areas of the coast, the Russians, Italians and Brits each have their own areas which aren’t crossed and people went to Johnny for help.”
The source described Spain, at that time, as being “pretty lawless”.
“Even the police were bent and people were ripped off every day … some for thousands and others tens of thousands,” he continued.
“If you were ripped off, say maybe by a crooked business partner, you went to Johnny for help.
“If you lost €10,000 then Johnny would give you €10,000 and in return you would pay him maybe €500 a month. The problem was the €500 a month doesn’t stop at €10,000 – it is ongoing and never stops.
“Hopefully, you could afford it but otherwise it could see you signing your lease over to Johnny.”
Morrissey had a range of employees he used to make collections, including a named right-hand man, but the source said: “The bigger collections were done by Russians who would literally skin someone for €10,000.
"Most would just pay up under the threat of collection and Johnny considered this his legitimate business.”
Another area in which the source claims Morrissey was involved was in smuggling weapons for dissident Republicans.
Morrissey remained paranoid for his safety, the source continued.
“He was totally paranoid by the threat of retribution,” he said.
“He was security mad, fitting CCTV with microphones everywhere – every room in his bar was under constant surveillance and he would eavesdrop on conversations.
“Even in his own villa, cameras were everywhere and he would sit in his office watching and listening for most of the day.”
Ironically, while watching others, said the source, Morrissey was himself under obvious
surveillance by Spanish police.
“The largest camera was on a 100-foot tower in the middle of his villa grounds that was installed by Spanish police to keep an eye on him and the comings and goings from the villa,” he said.
“But despite all the security, he always slept with a machete under the pillow.”
Despite Morrissey’s arrest last week, the source said: “I believe Johnny won’t be in custody for long. A blind eye can be turned for information.”
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