Legal fight | 

Promotion company founded by Daniel Kinahan says it 'is not front for European drug cartel'

MTK denies it launders drug money in court battle against rival promoter

The President of the World Boxing Council has made extraordinary claims about Daniel Kinahan

Patrick O'Connell

MTK, the boxing company founded by Daniel Kinahan, has denied it is a front for a 'European drug cartel' in fresh court documents submitted as part of a legal battle in California.

Papers were filed on behalf of MTK Global this week as it seeks to have 'default' entered against it set aside in a case concerning the alleged poaching of boxer JoJo Diaz.

In documents filed on Tuesday, MTK Global denied it was correctly served a court summons in the United Arab Emirates by rival promoter Moses Heredia and furthermore described allegations it is a corrupt organisation involved in money-laundering  as 'wild".

"Mr Heredia's RICO claims fail," submitted MTK Global's lawyer David Harris, "because, contrary to his wild allegations, MTK Global is not a front for a European drug cartel, does not engage in money laundering, and does not make money from the sale of illicit drugs; rather, MTK Global is a successful and well-respected boxing management and promotions company."

Fighter Joseph ‘JoJo’ Diaz

In early February, the Sunday World revealed how defaults in the multi-million case had been entered against mob boss Daniel Kinahan and MTK Global by lawyers for Heredia - after the court was informed neither had responded to court summons.

This gave Kinahan and MTK Global a period 45 days to avoid having a full default judgment issued against them in favour of Heredia - who is understood to be seeking damages of up to US$2m over MTK's alleged poaching of Diaz.

Heredia's lawyer Eric Montalvo has previously vowed he will seek to have Kinahan's assets in his Dubai bolthole frozen to pay off the judgment.

Kinahan continues to live a life of luxury in Dubai while a large number of his criminal associates serve lengthy sentences in Ireland.

Previously, in legal documents filed by lawyer and former marine Eric Montalvo on behalf of Heredia Boxing Management (HBM), he stated that the company had a five-year contract to represent Mr Diaz, which expired in 2022.

The suit alleged MTK lured Mr Diaz away by offering him a $100,000 advance on his next prize purse, which "essentially caused Mr Diaz to mortgage his future away".

The papers also alleged MTK funded a campaign against Heredia in an effort to get it to release Mr Diaz as a client.

This included the sending of "threatening" letters and social media posts smearing Heredia.

The suit further alleged Kinahan still controls MTK and uses fights and its fighters to launder money from his international drugs trafficking operations.

Furthermore, it accused MTK and Kinahan of breaching the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (Rico) Act by using money derived from organised crime activity.

The Rico Act was introduced by the federal government to tackle organised crime, but it can also be used in civil suits.

Lawyer Montalvo

Now, however, MTK's lawyers, in seeking to have the default against MTK set aside, are insisting the service of the summons on their client was not valid.

"Mr Heredia must serve MTK Global in a manner that is consistent with UAE law," lawyer Mr Harris submitted.

The lawyer went on to accuse Mr Heredia of having engaged in 'gamesmanship' in seeking the default.

"Mr Heredia claims he served MTK Global in October 2021, but he did not file the proof of that purported service until January 2022," he submitted.

"He then promised the defendants that he would not seek entry of default against MTK Global while the parties were attempting to negotiate a global settlement, only to turn around and file an application for entry of default, without warning, notice, or explanation."

Concluding his submission, Mr Andrew said: "MTK Global respectfully requests that the Court grant this motion and set aside the default entered against it."

MTK's motion is set for hearing on April 8 before Judge John W. Holcomb.

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