Legal letters | 

Sinn Fein quiet on John Finucane firm's letters for cartel leader Daniel Kinahan

MP John Finucane's law firm Finucane Toner sent out two legal letters on behalf of Daniel Kinahan in 2020

Sinn Fein MP John Finucane

Niamh Campbell

Sinn Fein has refused to discuss why a law firm co-owned by one of its MPs had dealings with Daniel Kinahan in the past, following news that US authorities have imposed sanctions on the Irish crime gang leader and are offering a $5m reward for information that will lead to his arrest.

North Belfast MP John Finucane is the co-owner and high-profile solicitor of Belfast-based law firm, Finucane Toner, which in 2020 sent out two legal letters on behalf of Daniel Kinahan after he was named as the head of one of the world’s biggest drug cartels.

The correspondence — sent to Irish news publications — asked what compensation they intended to pay the Dublin-born narcotics kingpin for claiming he was involved in the drugs trade and had ordered multiple murders.

Daniel Kinahan

John Finucane told the Sunday Life in October 2020 that he does not represent Mr Kinahan, and there is no suggestion that there was anything improper in the company previously accepting instructions from him.

On Tuesday, US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin said the American authorities were offering a $5m reward for information that will lead to the “financial destruction” of the Kinahan gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders — Christy Kinahan Snr and his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr.

It was earlier announced that the US Treasury Department had further imposed a series of unprecedented sanctions on the Kinahan family and a number of businesses were identified as being associated with its operation.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald took to Twitter to praise police in the Republic of Ireland and US authorities for “striking a significant blow against the Kinahan Drug gang”.

“There can be no safe haven for this vicious gang who has preyed on our communities for far too long,” she said.

When contacted for a response in relation to John Finucane’s law firm’s previous dealings with Daniel Kinahan — and whether Ms McDonald or Sinn Fein thinks an apology should be made on Finucane Toner’s behalf having worked with the Dubai-based gangster — the party replied only with Ms McDonald’s statement, which ignored any mention of Finucane, and instead focused on complimenting US authorities and the Garda.

“Many families and communities across the city of Dublin and beyond will be relieved at today’s development. So many young men have lost their lives in the senseless violence linked to this drug cartel,” she continued.

“While justice remains to be achieved for a large number of grieving families, there is a sense of relief that real progress is being made against an organisation which has preyed upon their communities for decades.”

Mr Finucane previously told Sunday Life: “I do not represent Mr Daniel Kinahan. Finucane Toner previously issued two letters on his behalf but no longer receives instructions.”

Finucane Toner have further been contacted for a response, but have not replied at the time of publication.

In a lengthy statement, the US Treasury Office said that the Kinahan crime gang is established in Ireland, the UK, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates. It described their operations as a “significant transnational criminal organisation”.

From February 2016, the gang has been involved in a vicious feud with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting at least 18 murders, including of two innocent bystanders.

Daniel Kinahan has also become a well-known figure in professional boxing circles. He is a co-founder of the MTK Global agency, which represents a number of boxing’s top fighters, including Tyson Fury and multiple boxers from Belfast, such as Michael Conlan.

Mr Kinahan said he cut ties with the company in 2017, but during a BBC Panorama investigation into the 44-year-old last year, MTK stated: “It is true that Mr Kinahan provides some personal advice to a number of boxers managed by MTK Global”.

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