CAB seeks to sell valuable property allegedly linked to Kinahan gang

Court told car firm allows associates to launder sums that come from drug dealing

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to sell a number of valuable assets seized by it which it claims are linked to the Kinahan crime gang including luxury cars, property and jewellery.

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to sell a number of valuable assets seized by it which it claims are linked to the Kinahan crime gang including luxury cars, property and jewellery.

 

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to sell a number of valuable assets seized by it which it claims are linked to the Kinahan crime gang including luxury cars, property and jewellery.

The High Court application by the bureau is against a number of individuals whom it claims are associates of Liam Byrne, alleged head of a gang originating from the Crumlin/Drimnagh area of Dublin which is central to the Kinahan-Hutch feud.

That feud has resulted in 10 murders including of Mr Byrne’s brother, David, who was shot dead in 2016 in the Regency Hotel.

The court was told Liam Byrne is a “trusted lieutenant” of Daniel Kinahan, son of Kinahan crime gang boss Christy, who is now living in Dubai.

Lawyers for Mr Byrne, his partner Simone McEnroe, and his close associate Seán McGovern, told the court on Tuesday all three would not be participating in the proceedings in any substantive way.

The court last year rejected applications for free legal aid on behalf of Mr McGovern and a number of other people who claimed ownership of the property, which originally included some 29 vehicles, a motorcyle, houses in Crumlin and Clondalkin, jewellery and cash.

Separate proceedings in relation to a house in Crumlin, which Mr Byrne’s sister Maria says she owns and which CAB claims comes from the proceeds of crime, were adjourned.

Front

The bureau claims the alleged associates of Mr Byrne act as a network and front for him and argues that they have wealthy lifestyles not in keeping with legitimate sources of income. They are involved with the Kinahan gang, which is behind an international drugs and firearms trafficking business estimated to be worth €1 billion, Remy Farrell SC, for CAB, told Ms Justice Carmel Stewart.

The judge has reserved her decision after hearing only from Mr Farrell. There was no opposition on behalf of any of the respondents to the application to sell the seized assets under proceeds of crime legislation.

Mr Farrell said a company called LS Active Car Sales, originally a registered firm but now a sole trader business in Mr Byrne’s name, is simply a means to allow Mr Byrne and his associates launder the substantial sums that came from drug dealing. The cars were used as “a currency to transfer wealth”, he said.

“Central to it is LS Active Car Sales and the irony is that whatever else is said about it, it was not in any sense active,” Mr Farrell said.

High-end

There is very little buying and selling but the business maintained high-end vehicles which “were handed out to people involved in criminality presumably for the purpose of payment,” counsel said.

The vehicles are normally registered in the names of people who do not have use of them but when the drivers are stopped by gardaí, the explanation usually is that they (drivers) have them on a “sale and return” basis to another garage.

CCTV footage of LS Active over a 29-day period showed almost “no activity consistent with car dealership”, counsel said.

“Presumably, the business is used more as a clubhouse for those involved,” he said.

The court will be satisfied from an analysis of the business that it is simply incapable of continuing, counsel said.

A “striking aspect” of it was that this business was used to fund other activities and, even though involved in car sales, spends “so much” on international travel, counsel said.

In relation to a house in Crumlin owned by Mr McGovern, who was injured in the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016, counsel said he has provided no explanation as to how he acquired it mortgage free even though he is unemployed.

He paid some €150,000 cash for the house which was routed from a trust company in Mauritius to a bank here, counsel said.

Mr McGovern had also claimed ownership of a Rolex watch and €10,000 in cash.