Bob Arum reveals he paid $4m to Daniel Kinahan who told him he had done 'bad things'
'Kinahan called me and we had a long conversation...He has kids and he said he wanted to get out of that other stuff'
Boxing promoter Bob Arum has revealed how Daniel Kinahan had admitted to him that he had “done some bad things in my life” but that he wanted to leave that life behind.
The boss of the Top Rank promotion company said he had paid Kinahan, who is now subject to massive sanctions imposed by the US government, more than $1 million for each of four bouts involving the fighter Tyson Fury.
The veteran promoter who established Top Rank in Las Vegas and is now its chairman, told Yahoo Sports that he’d paid Kinahan “at least a million” in each of the four fights against Deontay Wilder, twice, Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin, from 2019 to 2021.
The fights between Fury and Wilder were each for the WBC heavyweight title. The other two bouts were non-title matches while the Fury’s upcoming April 23 title defense in London against Dillian Whyte is being organised alongside Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions.
Arum said the money for the Fury fights were paid to a company called Hoopoe Sports Agent that is registered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Arum described the payments as consulting fees owed to Kinahan. The deals for the Fury fights were put together by Harrison Whitman, Top Rank’s former general counsel, who is now the chief strategy and legal officer of a new boxing promotional company called Probellum.
However, Arum this week said he will end all business dealings with the gangland boss in the wake of the extraordinary move by the US government to impose sanctions on the cartel.
“Kinahan called me and we had a long conversation,” Arum told Yahoo Sports. “He has kids and he said he wanted to get out of that other stuff. He said to me, ‘Bob, I’ve done some bad things in my life. I admit that.
“But I’m not involved with that any more. I’m just trying to clean up my life and be a legitimate business man.’ I wasn’t involved in any of the things he might have done before and he was telling me he wasn’t doing anything.”
But Arum said the relationship started to change when Kinahan began to use bully tactics. At the same time he was hearing that Kinahan may still have been involved in questionable activities.
Arum said that’s when his company began to fully disassociate with him.
“There came a time that we discovered that he might still have been involved in some nefarious activities,” Arum said. “That was enough for us.”
The 90-year-old said he will adhere to the United States government’s mandate related to business dealings with Daniel Kinahan.
On Monday, the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a press release in which it detailed sanctions against Kinahan, his father Christopher Snr and brother Christopher Jnr and other members of the "Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) for their criminal activities".
A US government official quoted in the press release noted that KOCG smuggles narcotics to Europe, launders money and commits murders as part of its criminal enterprise.
The 90-year-old, who was an attorney for the US Justice Department during the Kennedy administration, told BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that his boxing company, Top Rank Inc, has ended any business dealings with Kinahan.
He made it clear that neither he nor anyone else employed by Top Rank will have any further dealings with Kinahan, who is an adviser to two of Top Rank’s most prominent boxers – WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury and fully unified junior welterweight champ Josh Taylor.
Mr Arum, who is Tyson Fury's co-promoter, told Newstalk Breakfast this week he will cut all ties with Mr Kinahan.
"Frankly I was very surprised because I didn't realise that the United States was involved in that activity - so it really surprised me."
"I was surprised because I had no inkling that it was coming down, that there was any type of US involvement here.
"I knew all of the accusations from the Irish side of it - the Irish media and all of that - but I didn't even contemplate that the US would be involved".
Asked if he stood over comments he made in June 2020, in which he described Daniel Kinahan as 'an honourable man', he says: "Well no.
"I can't talk, nor would I talk, about his dealings with us - but when my government makes a statement like they made, as a law abiding citizen of the United States, I have no other alternative but to abide by their determination".
Mr Arum says he has not spoken with Mr Kinahan in a number of months.
"I haven't spoken with him... it's at least two months and it might be three - we haven't communicated."
He added: "I can't deal with him in the future because of the position of my government.
"Unless something obviously dramatically changes, which I can't foresee, I will not do business with Kinahan based on these assertions by my government."
Speaking in an earlier interview with BoxingScene.com, Mr Arum said: "We’re a United States company, we’re United States citizens. Our government has made this determination. We’re gonna follow our government. Period. End of story.
“Which means you can’t have business with the guy, and you’ve got to observe what the authorized representatives of the government have mandated. You’re either on board or you’re not on board.”
Arum also noted that Top Rank might not deal with MTK Global, founded by Kinahan in 2012 who later served in an advisory role for that company.
“The lawyers are looking into it,” Arum said. “Those are serious problems that have to be explored because, obviously, MTK appears to be (an entity) that he’s involved with. And, in which case, then it’s a no-no to deal with them.”
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