US Ambassador says sanctions will hit Kinahans hard as cartel using crypto for laundering
‘Law enforcement will almost certainly be unable to detect illicit financial flows through the cryptocurrency market due to cryptocurrency’s decentralised nature’
US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin has said that sanctions levied against the Kinahan Cartel mean that the gang will be held accountable for their actions.
Cronin appeared at a press conference in Dublin alongside gardai, Europol, the UK National Crime Agency and US Government officials in April when sanctions against the gang were announced.
At the briefing, she also announced a whopping $5 million reward for key information leading to the Kinahan gang being dismantled.
She told the media that the US Department of State is offering a reward for information "leading to the financial disruption" of the Kinahan transnational group, or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
The three leaders of the gang are named by the authorities as Daniel Kinahan, who runs the day-to-day operations, his father Christy Kinahan Snr who organises property purchases, and Christy Kinahan Jnr who oversees their finances.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Cronin said the cooperation between international law enforcement and financial intelligence officials will “limit the illegal activities of the Kinahan's internationally.”
“All of these things are going to just make it much more likely that the Kinahan's will be held to account for their activities,” she said.
“It was a great transnational cooperation between all these various law enforcement groups and we stand united on that.”
It comes as a leading US counterterrorism group claimed that the Kinahan Cartel are likely to start using cryptocurrency to move their illicit profits out of Dubai.
After the sanctions were announced, Dubai officials also froze the cartel leader's bank accounts.
The Sunday World has previously revealed how Christy Snr and his two sons, Daniel and Christopher Jnr, are said to be scrambling to get their assets out of the Emirate State.
The US-based group of security experts has claimed the Irish Mafia leaders are likely to try and convert their assets into cryptocurrency to avoid law enforcement detection.
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) also warn that sanctions alone are unlikely to stop the Kinahan cartel - and that the US will need to extradite the group's leaders to bring an end to the mob's activities.
They said: "[The] sanctions will very unlikely disrupt the KOCG’s criminal operations or impact its ability to generate funds due to its global illicit activities.
"The KOCG very likely takes advantage of weak anti-money laundering controls in the UAE to conceal the origins of its illicit finances, likely generating further funds for its criminal empire.
"Without extradition from the UAE, it is very unlikely law enforcement will be capable of stopping Christopher Kinahan Senior or his sons from conducting their international operations."
The Counterterrorism Group describe themselves as a global organisation "focused on detecting, deterring, and defeating terrorism and other threats".
They also claim that the increased collaboration between international authorities will have encouraged the gang to use cryptocurrency.
“Law enforcement will almost certainly be unable to detect illicit financial flows through the cryptocurrency market due to cryptocurrency’s decentralised nature,” the report reads.
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