An Irish organised crime group responsible for importing multi-tonne quantities of drugs and firearms around the world for more than 20 years has been hit with international financial sanctions – leaving their bank accounts frozen and funds inaccessible.
The Kinahan crime group, which has also been linked to more than a dozen gangland murders, have been effectively cut off from the global financial system.
Over the last two years, the National Crime Agency, in collaboration with international law enforcement partners and US government bodies, have collated material generated from significant operational activity which shows their involvement in serious and organised criminality.
The material was submitted to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the United States, who today announced that the head of the crime group, Christopher Vincent Kinahan Snr, and his two sons, Daniel Joseph Kinahan and Christopher Vincent Kinahan Jnr, along with a number of their associates and businesses, will be subject to the sanctions.
Over the years, the Kinahans have gone to extreme lengths to avoid law enforcement action by using corrupt officials, receiving training in anti-surveillance techniques, and working with trusted associates to distance themselves from their criminal activities
And they have sought to locate themselves outside of the UK and Ireland, to frustrate the NCA and partner law enforcement efforts to pursue them. However, NCA investigations have caused major disruption to the crime group’s activity in the UK and beyond. Last month, Thomas ‘Bomber’ Kavanagh, who ran the Kinahan’s criminal operations in the UK was jailed for 21 years, along with brothers-in-law Gary Vickery and Daniel Canning, who were sentenced to 20 years and 19 ½ years respectively.
Evidence showed they were responsible for cocaine importations estimated to be up to £23.4 million, and cannabis importations worth around £6.4 million. James Mulvey, another key player in the crime group, was arrested in Lithuania in 2017 after NCA investigators evidenced he trafficked drugs worth an estimated £68m. He is currently serving a 32-year jail term.
NCA officers have prevented eight threats to life – murders and punishment beatings – on the streets of the UK and elsewhere by sharing intelligence with law enforcement partners. The NCA and its partners have also seized dozens of firearms, including machine guns and automatic rifles. The agency’s international network of officers have shared intelligence with our overseas law enforcement agencies that has disrupted the group’s activities.
NCA Deputy Director of Investigations, Matt Horne, said: “We target criminals who cause the most harm, are the most violent, those who exploit the vulnerable, and dominate communities. The Kinahan crime group fall into all of those categories.
“They have transcended international boundaries – distributing multi-million pound shipments of drugs throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe, and have been engaging in firearms trafficking and money laundering.
“They thought they were untouchable but the sanctions imposed today will be a huge blow to the Kinahans. It has cut them off from the global financial system, making them toxic to legitimate businesses and financial institutions, and will cause other criminals to think twice about doing business with them.
“Additionally, it shows that we will explore every opportunity available to disrupt their criminal activities and, rest assured, we will not stop here. “It doesn’t matter how long it takes, we will ensure those who are responsible for flooding the streets with drugs and firearms, laundering the proceeds of crime, ordering murders and inflicting violence are held to account for their actions.”
The NCA has been working with international law enforcement and government agencies – including the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Dept of Treasury, An Garda Siochana the Police Service Northern Ireland, the Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil – since 2019 to collate intelligence and evidence to achieve OFAC designation.
The Kinahans, who currently live in the United Arab Emirates, will also now be on the Specially Designated Nationals list, which is used by global institutions to screen and potentially block transactions to avoid any enforcement action.
Other individuals who will be added to the SDN list are Irish nationals Sean Gerard McGovern, Bernard Patrick Clancy, Ian Thomas Dixon and John Francis Morrissey.
Three business entities – Nero Drinks Company Limited (owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, John Morrissey), Hoopoe Sports LLC (owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Ian Dixon) and Ducashew General Trading LLC (owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Daniel Kinahan) will also be added to the designation list and are subject to the same sanctions.