The US government is offering $5 million (€4.6 million) for information on the Kinahan crime gang or for the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
It comes as a US government department imposed sanctions against seven senior members of the Kinahan crime gang as part of a bid to target their financial operations.
US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin told an event at Dublin City Hall that the US Department of the Treasury is offering a reward of $5 million (€4.6 million) for information that will lead to the “financial destruction” of the Kinahan crime gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
Speaking at the event, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the Kinahan gang is worth more than €1 billion through its criminal enterprise.
Mr Harris warned senior gang members that they can run but “can’t hide from justice forever”, adding that they will eventually run out of money.
Among those sanctioned by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) were its key members, including leaders Christy Kinahan Sr, Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan Jr.
They were named as being heads of the criminal network.
Christy Kinahan Sr
Christopher ‘Christy’ Vincent Kinahan Senior is currently based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
OFAC says he was designated for “acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the KOCG”.
OFAC says Mr Kinahan has a “demonstrative of a long history of criminality” noting how he “has served prison sentences in Ireland, the Netherlands, and Belgium, including: six years for dealing heroin, two-and-a-half years for possession of cocaine, and four years for money laundering”.
OFAC says Christy Kinahan built “a list of contacts that grew to what became known as the KOCG”.
Christy’s sons, Daniel and Christopher Jr, “now manage his drug trafficking operations while Christopher Sr oversees the property portions of the enterprise”, according to OFAC.
Daniel Kinahan is also based in Dubai.
“Each member of the KOCG reports to Daniel Kinahan, who is believed to run the day-to-day operations of the organization,” OFAC said.
It adds that Daniel Kinahan “has instructed KOCG members to send money to a variety of individuals serving prison sentences, including a person convicted of attempted murder on behalf of the KOCG, and an individual imprisoned for murder on behalf of the KOCG”.
Daniel Kinahan also “sources large quantities of cocaine from South America” and “plays an integral part in organizing the supply of drugs in Ireland, and is attempting to facilitate the importation of cocaine into the United Kingdom,” OFAC notes.
Christopher Kinahan Jr
Christopher Vincent Kinahan Junior (Christopher Jr) is the final Kinahan family member on the list.
He was included on the sanctions list for “assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the KOCG”.
It also notes that Christopher Jr “regularly contributes to a fund that is used to pay KOCG members”.
Christopher Jr “responds to directives from Daniel Kinahan and has collaborated with other members of the KOCG to transport and sell narcotics in the United Kingdom”.
OFAC notes that all three Kinahans mentioned have been caught travelling with fake documents.
Also named and sanctioned were their associates Sean McGovern, Ian Dixon, Bernard Clancy and John Morrissey.
OFAC says Mr McGovern “Daniel Kinahan’s advisor and closest confidant” noting that “all dealings with Daniel Kinahan go through Sean McGovern”.
He was shot at the Regency Hotel in 2016.
The next associate mentioned is Ian Thomas Dixon, designated “for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Daniel Kinahan”.
Mr Clancy has been designated “for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the KOCG”.
John Francis Morrissey is designated for “materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the KOCG”.
OFAC says John Morrissey has worked for the KOCG “for several years” including as “an enforcer”.
A number of businesses were also identified as being associated with the crime gang.
Three companies associated with the Kinahan gang are included in the OFAC sanctions, as the Irish Examiner reports.
Nero Drinks Company Limited (Nero Drinks) is a UK-based alcoholic beverage company believed to be owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, John Morrissey.
Hoopoe Sports LLC (Hoopoe Sports), a UAE-based sports management and advisory company, is the next business on the list.
Billy Joe Saunders, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan and Hughie Fury are listed as clients on the Hoopoe Sports website.
Hoopoe Sports was designated for sanctions by OFAC “for being owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Ian Dixon”.
Ducashew General Trading LLC (Ducashew), a UAE-based business management consulting company, is also on the list.
OFAC says Ducashew is “owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Daniel Kinahan” who runs it “through various individuals and is involved in its financial and business management.”
What is OFAC?
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is a financial intelligence and enforcement agency of the United States Treasury Department.
It enforces economic and trade sanctions in support of US national security.
This essentially means KOCG has been designated as a threat to US national security.
What does it all mean?
In a statement, the US Department of the Treasury said the action is the result of close collaboration between OFAC, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Department of State, An Garda Síochána, the UK’s National Crime Agency and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.
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 (Kinahan organised crime group) 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 co-ordinated so closely with our international counterparts, and the US government will continue to use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks.”
As a result of the action, all property and interests in property of the named gang members and their businesses that are in the US or in the possession or control of US people will be blocked and reported to OFAC.
OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by US people or people within, or transiting, the United States that involve any property or interests in property of those who have been sanctioned.
In a lengthy statement, the US Treasury Office said that the Kinahan crime gang, which operates in Ireland, is also established in the UK, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.
It described their operations as a “significant transnational criminal organisation”.
It said the gang emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the most “powerful organised crime group” operating in Ireland.
Since then, Irish courts have said that the Kinahan gang is a “murderous organisation” involved in the international trafficking of drugs and firearms.
Criminal activities include international money laundering, generating proceeds in the UK, which are then pooled together and passed to local criminals before being handed to Irish organised crime group members and laundered out of the UK.
The Kinahans also frequently use Dubai as a facilitation hub for its “illicit activities”.
Since February 2016, the criminal gang has been involved in a gang war with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting in numerous murders, including of two innocent bystanders. – Additional reporting from Press Association