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Dutch gangster suspected of plotting attempted hit on Kinahan associate arrested in Spain

The criminal suspected of organising the attempted murder was held in San Pedro de Alcantara near Marbella.
Naoufal Fassih Photo: Collins

Naoufal Fassih Photo: Collins

Robin Schiller and Natalia Penza

A Dutch organised crime boss suspected of orchestrating the attempted murder of a Kinahan cartel associate has been arrested in Spain.

Naoufal Fassih escaped with his life in 2016 after a gunman mistakenly shot dead Amsterdam DJ Djordy Latumahina in a botched hit.

Fassih (40) is currently serving a lengthy jail term for a range of crimes including attempted murder and was arrested by gardaí in a Kinahan safehouse on Dublin's Baggott Street in 2015 while on the run.

The mob boss was regarded as a key link to the Kinahan cartel's network in the Netherlands along with Chilean trafficker Ricardo ‘El Rico’ Riquelme Vega.

The criminal suspected of organising his attempted murder, a 40-year-old fugitive identified only as Noureddine H, was held in San Pedro de Alcantara near Marbella.

Spanish police said he was wanted in Holland over the DJ's murder who was killed mistakenly instead of “real target” Fassih.

The victim was sitting in his Mini Cooper with his girlfriend, who was critically injured, and their then two-year-old daughter when they were targeted on October 8, 2016.

A bullet fired by the gunmen just missed the youngster.

Seven men were jailed over the shooting in May 2018, but the man Spanish police have arrested, described as the person suspected of planning the killing, had remained on the run.

His intended target's links to the Kinahan cartel, now said to be led by boxing promoter Daniel Kinahan after his dad Christy reportedly decided to pass the reigns of his criminal empire over to his son, were laid bare in an official Spanish police statement about the arrest.

The Civil Guard said in their statement, identifying Fassih only by his initials: “The man who has been arrested in Spain is accused by the Dutch authorities of planning the murder of N.F in Berlin.

“N.F was the intended target of the incident that resulted in the DJ’s murder. The DJ lived in the same apartment block as the other man.

“The intended target of the shooting is currently in prison for a number of crimes. He is regarded by the Dutch authorities as one of the main leaders of organised crime in recent years, and is directly linked to the so-called Kinahan Irish mafia cartel, which tried to free N.F during his transfer to court through the use of explosives.”

BBC’s Panorama exposed Daniel Kinahan’s influence in world boxing in a recent documentary which led to calls for tighter regulation of the sport.

Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury reportedly dropped the Irishman as his negotiator after his “instrumental” role in brokering a two-fight deal with rival Anthony Joshua was outlined.

Fury had previously thanked Kinahan on Instagram.

The 43-year-old Dubliner, now based in Dubai, insisted after the Panorama programme: "I am not part of a criminal gang or any conspiracy. I have no convictions. None. Not just in Ireland but anywhere in the world.”

It emerged last month that Fassih, arrested during a Garda swoop on a suspected Kinahan cartel property in Dublin, had lost an appeal against an Irish High Court decision allowing him to be tried for murder in the Netherlands.

The Civil Guard released footage of the fugitive’s arrest in t-shirt and shorts and the moment his handcuffs were taken off once he was at a police station before his fingerprints were taken to prove his identity before he was led to a prison cell.

A spokesman for the force, whose operation to arrest the wanted Dutchman was codenamed Operation 13MORTEL, said: “The Dutch authorities informed the Civil Guard that the detainee ordered the murder of a rival gang leader in Amsterdam.

“However, due to an error by the gunmen, they ended the life of a well-known city DJ while he was in a car park with his partner and daughter.

“Seven people were arrested in Holland and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, although the intellectual author’s whereabouts remained unknown.”

In a statement the force added: “The possible presence in Spain, and specifically Malaga, of the man now under arrest in Spain was flagged up by Dutch police in February.

“There has been close co-operation between Dutch police and the Civil Guard and Dutch police came to Spain to assist the Civil Guard’s Central Operative Unit which carried out the arrest.”

Confirming the detention occurred after the fugitive’s relatives travelled to Malaga and were put under watch, the Civil Guard said: “The detainee has been remanded in prison ahead of his expected extradition to Holland.”

The arrest is said to have been carried out on May 23, although the police only made it public today.

Fassih, a Dutch citizen of Moroccan origin, was surrendered to the Dutch authorities by the High Court in 2017 to face charges of attempted murder, assault, possession of false documents and money laundering.

He was subsequently convicted in the Netherlands of all charges and jailed for 18 years.

In February he appealed the Irish High Court decision allowing him to be tried for murder in the Netherlands. Last last month it emerged he had lost the appeal.

Fassih, who has been dubbed ‘Belly’ because of the size of his stomach, has been described as a business partner of jailed criminal Chilean Richard Eduardo Riquelme Vega, known as ‘El Rico’.

The South American has also been identified as a close ally of Daniel Kinahan.

Gardaí and international investigators believe gangs like the Kinahan cartel were getting their cocaine from the Chilean’s gang which they then funnelled into Ireland, it was reported earlier this month.

El Rico was arrested in the car park of a luxury hotel in Santiago, Chile, in 2017 before being extradited to Amsterdam, where he was found guilty last month of leading criminal organisations with the aim of liquidation and money laundering

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