US offering $5m reward for key information to help dismantle Kinahan cartel
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that the Kinahan crime gang were responsible for "so much destruction and death" both here and abroad
US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin has announced that there is a $5 million reward for key information leading to the Kinahan gang being dismantled.
She has told a media briefing in Dublin's City Hall that the US Department of State is offering the reward for information "leading to the financial disruption" of the Kinahan transnational group, or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
The three leaders are named by the authorities as Daniel Kinahan, who runs the day-to-day operations, his father Christy Snr who organises property purchases, and Christy Jnr who oversees finances.
She said the crime gang are accused of a wide range of heinous crimes around that world and that countering transnational criminal gangs is an "urgent priority" for US President Joe Biden and the US Government,
The Kinahan cartel's leadership has also been hit with serious financial sanctions by the US Government in an international strike against the drug trafficking gang's assets. The measures were announced overnight by US authorities.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that the Kinahan crime gang were responsible for "so much destruction and death" both here and abroad and warned that they can run but can't hide.
He said they started out as drug dealers in the south-inner city but have grown to an international organisation who have generated up to €1m billion from their criminality.
Mr Harris said one of the first briefings he received when taking up the top garda role was on the Kinahan gang.
He said that while their leadership is based in countries with no extradition treaty with Ireland, he warned them that they can "run but can't hide from justice forever".
The Garda chief added that, from today, they would be running out of money, friends, and influence.
The Garda Commissioner also said that sports personalities and businesses should consider their involvement with the Kinahan gang.
Mr Harris told the briefing that people who deal with those sanctioned are involving themselves with a criminal network.
He said they should look at their own businesses and relationships with their fans and consider if this is something they want to be involved with.
"In terms of some individuals, prominent sporting individuals who are in some way connected with this grouping, I would say look at your sport, your fans, and think of your own reputation because this is a very serious announcement today after a large amount of work."
Assistant Commissioner O'Driscoll also said that the Kinahan OCG are attempting to destroy a sport that is so important to inner-city communities.
This, he said, has provided even more of an incentive to "bring about the downfall of this organised crime group".
Seven key associates of the cartel- including leader Daniel Kinahan- have been listed by the US Treasury Office as either acting directly for the crime group or providing it with material assistance.
It follows a lengthy investigation led by gardaí and involving US officials, the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA), and the EU's law enforcement agency.
The sanctions imposed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) means that all property, or interests in property, linked to the named associates and three companies within the US must be reported and blocked.
This includes a ban on US companies doing business with the designated members, their finances in American banks being frozen, and not being able to fly with US airlines. People based in the US are also banned from acting on behalf of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group (KOCG).
The sanctions will also have a serious impact on the boxing interests of Daniel Kinahan in the US who has been acting as an advisor to some of the biggest names in the sport.
The 44-year-old has been named as running the day-to-day operations of the international gang and sending money to prisoners, including those serving jail terms for murder and an attempted murder on behalf of the group.
His father, Christy Kinahan Snr (65), is described as managing the "property portions" of the enterprise while Christy Jnr (41) "regularly contributes funds to be used to pay KOCG members".
Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said: “The Kinahan Organised Crime Group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, to Europe, and is a threat to the entire licit economy through its role in international money laundering.
“Criminal groups like the KOCG prey on the most vulnerable in society and bring drug-related crime and violence, including murder, to the countries in which they operate.
"Treasury is proud to have coordinated so closely with our international counterparts, and the U.S. government will continue to use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks.”
Under the sanctions, all properties and property interests belonging to the named individuals or entities that are in the United States or in the possession of US individuals “must be blocked and reported to OFAC”.
Four of the gang's most trusted members are also listed including key associate Sean McGovern(36) , currently based in Dubai, who is described as Daniel Kinahan's "advisor and closest confidant".
Evidence gathered as part of the international probe indicates that McGovern has managed the communications on behalf of Kinahan and that all dealings to through him.
Three others are Ian Dixon (32) who controls financial payments of the gang; Bernard Clancy (44) who organises wage payments and; Spanish based John Morrissey (61) who is described as an enforcer and facilitates drug shipments from South America.
Three companies have also been added to the sanctions list by the US Department of Treasury, including Hoopoe Sports LLC, a sport management company based in the UAE.
UK-based alcoholic beverage company Nero Drinks Company Limited is also listed along with UAE-based business management consulting company Ducashew General Trading LLC, controlled by Daniel Kinahan.
The sanctions mean that all property or interests linked to the Kinahan leadership and its key associates in the US must be blocked and reported.
"OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all transactions by US persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons," a statement said.
The sanctions can also be removed if a person "demonstrates a material change in behaviour".
It describes the cartel as having bases in the UK, Spain, Ireland and the UAE and uses Dubai as a "facilitation hub for its illicit activities".
"Since February 2016, the KOCG has been involved in a gang war with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting in numerous murders, including of two innocent bystanders," it said.
As part of the statement, the US Department of Treasury released a chart detailing the ‘Transnational Criminal Organisation’. The chart shows photographs of the seven named individuals, accompanied by their date of birth and their nationality, all Irish.
In a statement from Europol, Jari Liukku, head of their European Serious and Organised Crime Centre said:
"Serious and organised crime affects and undermines all levels of society, from the daily lives of our citizens to the economy, state institutions and the rule of law. The criminal structures we are facing are fluid and flexible. Europol, as the nerve centre of the European Union internal security architecture, offers a genuine platform for operational cooperation and a hub for the sharing of criminal intelligence to tackle the most serious crime gangs.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals or entities that are in the United States, or in the possession or control of US persons, must be blocked and reported to OFAC."
According to Europol’s 2021 Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), serious and organised crime remains a key threat to the EU’s internal security.
•40 % of the criminal groups active in the EU are involved in drug trafficking, and much of the violence associated with serious and organised crime is related to the drug trade.
•Corruption is a feature of all criminal activities. Almost 60 % of the criminal groups reported to Europol engage in corruption.
•More than 80 % of the criminal networks are active in the use of legal business structures for their illegal activities.
•Serious and organised crime in the EU fundamentally relies on the ability to launder vast amounts of criminal profits. For this purpose, professional money launderers have established a parallel underground financial system to process transactions and payments isolated from any oversight mechanisms governing the legal economic system.
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