gang crackdown | 

Leaked EU memo reveals plan to extradite 'untouchable' crime bosses like Daniel Kinahan from Dubai

The report details how the Emirate state has become host to a 'vast amount of high-value targets'
Daniel Kinahan

Daniel Kinahan

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A leaked EU memo has revealed how police are planning to extradite “untouchable” ex-pat criminals such as Daniel Kinahan who are using Dubai as a hideout.

The document, due to be circulated ahead of talks on criminal priorities for the EU later this month, says the Emirate State has become a bolthole for European criminals.

The report details how Europol plan to target a number of ex-pat crime bosses, described as "high-value targets", for extradition.

It also says authorities are preparing to conduct joint operations targeting the mobsters “and to confiscate their criminal assets”.

Extracts from the leaked memo were published on the news website,

According to the document, entitled ‘Operational Action Plan 2022 on high-risk criminal networks’, Dubai (UAE) has emerged as a “key location for key organisers and money-laundering activities associated with the cocaine trade in the EU”.

A view of the skyline at night of downtown Dubai, UAE (PA)

A view of the skyline at night of downtown Dubai, UAE (PA)

"We know that a vast amount of high-value targets mastermind and enable their criminal activities while residing in countries (Dubai, UAE, and Turkey) being particularly attractive for European ex-pat criminals," the memo, that is dated November 13, adds.

Police from nine EU states as well as Norway, Switzerland, and the US were conducting joint operations "to locate and extradite the 'untouchable' ex-pat criminals and to confiscate their criminal assets," it noted.

"Getting to know their relationships and building understanding of their lifestyles can reveal their vulnerabilities and potential pressure points," the memo adds.

Europol, the EU's joint police agency in The Hague, is helping to create "a list of HVT [high value targets] residing in Dubai-UAE-Turkey", it notes.

The leaked memo comes two months after Daniel Kinahan's wedding was cited in a previous EU report into cocaine trafficking gangs.

That report detailed how members of a Europe-wide 'super-cartel' all attended the Irish gangster's wedding in the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel in 2017.

The Burj al Arab hotel, Dubai (Tourism Ireland/PA)

The Burj al Arab hotel, Dubai (Tourism Ireland/PA)

EU police forces believe this “super cartel” includes some of the continents leading traffickers - like Dutch crime lord Ridouan Taghi, and Italian Mafioso Raffaele Imperiale.

As well as Dubai, Turkey, and the Western Balkans are also hotspots of criminality in the EU, according to the leaked reports.

The Western Balkans were described as "a source of illegal firearms", as hand grenades illicitly trafficked and used in some EU member states typically originate from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Another one of the guests at Kinahan’s now-infamous wedding in Dubai in 2017, was the Bosnian criminal Edin Gačanin.

Edin Gacanin - Bosnian 'Dino & Tito' Cartel boss

Edin Gacanin - Bosnian 'Dino & Tito' Cartel boss

Meanwhile, Albanian-speaking criminal networks sexually exploit Albanian victims [of human-trafficking] across Europe, particularly in Kosovo, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK, the EU memo notes.

The Western Balkans and Turkey also named as "hubs" for migrant-smugglers, in leagues with gangs in Belarus, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine.

"The nature of organised crime is truly global, with more than 180 nationalities involved in serious and organised crime activities in the EU," one report said.

"Suspects originating from Latin America are increasingly involved in the cocaine trade in the EU. This includes nationals of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico," the files noted.

Cocaine from Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru was trafficked to the EU "mainly [via] Brazil and Ecuador as well as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela", they said.

"Some member states have observed a notable increase in the level of violence associated with the trade in cannabis," one report said.

The number of violent incidents related to trade in cocaine has been increasing, the report notes, with the nature of these attacks “escalating in terms of impact and victims, which now include journalists, lawyers, bystanders and others not involved in the cocaine trade”.

A Colombian soldier guards 13.2 tons of cocaine.

A Colombian soldier guards 13.2 tons of cocaine.

EU officials said "the Italian 'Ndrangheta and Sicilian mafia" was "currently the most powerful mafia type and family based OCGs [Organised Crime Groups]", with members "settled and active in multiple member states and third countries".

Their activities included "in primis, international drug trafficking and large scale money-laundering through the setting up of new businesses," an EU memo said.

Belgium and the Netherlands were "major producers and suppliers of amphetamine and MDMA", EU officials noted.

"A large amount of child sexual abuse material is hosted in Europe. This has been the case in the last years during which there has been a shift from North America," the EU report added.

And European "suspected/known (high risk) offenders" were "travelling to Thailand and other emerging hotspots" to abuse children, it said.

Although he is wanted for questioning in relation to a number of serious offences, including conspiracy to murder and drug crimes, Daniel Kinahan has no criminal convictions.

Police forces across the world suspect he holds a leading role in a billion euro drugs cartel, one which spans three continents and has been linked to the murder of countless people across the world.

In September, the ‘Cocaine Insights 1’ report, citing Europol intelligence, said that Irish drug trafficking organisations (DTOs) “appear to be gaining greater shares of the cocaine market in Europe” along with other gangs.

It said that a shift in the south American crime landscape had allowed new actors to become involved in the cocaine distribution, including “less prominent trafficking DTOs (that) also originate from Ireland, Poland and Serbia.”

Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme

Richard ‘El Rico’ Riquelme

“One example of an attempt at collusion among different groups may have been observed in 2017 in Dubai, involving individuals with ties to Irish, Italian, Bosnian and Dutch DTOs,” it states.

The meeting is a reference to the wedding of cartel leader Daniel at the seven-star Burj al Arab hotel that was attended by a number of international criminals including Chilean drug lord Ricard ‘El Rico’ Vega, Taghi, and Camorra don Imperiale.

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