Exclusive Spanish cops paid €5k per month while on Kinahan cartel payroll
Kinahan mob had police in their pocket during massive Operation Shovel probe
The Kinahan organised crime group had two Spanish cops on their payroll at the time of the Operation Shovel investigation.
The officers were being paid €5,000 a month to keep the mob informed of any probes by law enforcemnet into their activities on the Costa Del Sol.
The pair were met by a senior cartel lieutenant every four weeks in one of the many obstructions to the high-profile Spanish investigation into their activities.
Operation Shovel was hailed by Spanish police as the end of the Irish mafia – but 10 years after the massive clampdown, Christy Kinahan Snr and his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr are still free.
The Sunday World can reveal the catalogue of failures by Spanish authorities which gave the Kinahan Organised Crime Group free reign to continue to expand their drugs empire.
We can reveal how the Kinahan mob was one step ahead of the Spanish police and knew that cops had them under surveillance and were moving in on them.
Tip-offs provided by paid informants allowed them tidy up their affairs and leave behind a trail of documents, which they knew would not only be found in the raids but would also tie up investigators for years and amount to nothing.
These included details of a company selling land in Brazil, where it was claimed the Kinahan Organised Crime Group was planning to build a vast holiday resort near the coastal city of Joao Pessoa in the north-east of the country.
Huge resources were pumped into untangling the financial web of ‘Greenland Securities’, only to discover the land was barren and mainly elderly investors had been left in a legal tangle with Brazilian authorities to try and claim ownership over the plots to recoup some of their savings.
Following two years of surveillance, Spanish police led the charge against the mob in May 2010. The busts had involved 750 police officers across Ireland, the UK and Spain, as well as follow-up raids in Belgium, Cyprus, Dubai, South Africa and Brazil. They resulted in 78 searches, 34 arrests and the seizure of vehicles and cash.
Europol, the EU police agency at the time, said Christy Kinahan’s extensive criminal network was involved in commercial and financial transactions in South America, Africa and the Far East. Thirty-one companies linked to the Kinahan organisation were identified.
Daniel Kinahan and his brother Christopher Jnr were publicly dragged before the courts along with long-time associate of the family John ‘the Colonel’ Cunningham.
Mob lieutenants Gary Hutch and Freddie Thompson were subjected to extradition proceedings, while armed robber Kevin Lynch and others were bailed in Spain.
Accountants, solicitors and associates of the ‘Dapper Don’ were also named in the probe.
The arrests were filmed by the Guardia Civil and blasted across the world’s media – but it was later discovered that the gang had been tipped off and knew exactly how to work the Spanish system.
The Kinahans were locked up for a while but were later all given bail by a Spanish magistrate.
This week, the Spanish officially closed their probe, levelling a charge against Christy Snr for passport fraud and a weapons charge on CAB target Ross Browning.
State prosecutors dropped the case against a string of other suspects, including Daniel and Christopher Jnr, after failing to build a case against them over the past 10 years.
Others facing minor charges include Robert Edward Phillips and James Gregory Naughton, who have been charged with passport fraud.
Jasvinder Singh Kamoo, described in original documents as the money man, has been charged with using fake number plates on a Mercedes.
In its early stages, Operation Shovel promised it would destroy the ‘Irish mafia’ and concentrated on allegations of drugs and weapons trafficking. By 2014 a magistrate dropped those charges and instead decided to focus on money laundering and membership of a criminal gang. Six years on and those charges were also dropped.
The charges, despite being minor, have been welcomed as ‘more than was expected’ out of the doomed investigation, which fell further and further down the priority list of Spanish authorities the more difficult it became.
When the Kinahans fled Spain in 2016 after the outbreak of a feud with the Hutch Organised Crime Group, the Spanish paid little attention to the probe as it no longer concerned them.
Years were wasted chasing a €500 million property portfolio that the Spanish believe the Kinahans owned in Brazil. Instead, gardai discovered a handful of Irish pensioners, who had invested between E20,000 and E60,000 each, were the beneficial owners of the plots at the Jardim do Mar and Palma resorts where land had become worthless due to Brazil’s disastrous economy.
Many had been fooled into handing over their money at the height of the boom when properties and sites all over the world were soaring in value and markets like Brazil looked attractive.
In the UK, too, mainly pensioners were identified as having been lured by internet adverts.
Between 2010 and 2016, when they fled the Costa, the Kinahan Organised Crime Gang had made millions in drug money – largely from muscling in on the cocaine market – while investigators fumbled with red tape, bum steers and dodgy dealings on the Costa.
The written court ruling states there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that the Kinahan mob formed part of a criminal gang.
Meanwhile, sources say they are happy that Operation Shovel has finally been concluded and that police forces can concentrate on their current investigation into the Kinahan group, which is now holed up in Dubai.