Kinahan gang may face money-laundering charges

Spanish prosecutor says charges against key members of organisation are imminent

An eight-year investigation into the activities of the international crime gang headed by drugs dealer Christy Kinahan is likely to result in money-laundering charges in the coming months in Spain. Photograph: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

An eight-year investigation into the activities of the international crime gang headed by drugs dealer Christy Kinahan is likely to result in money-laundering charges in the coming months in Spain. Photograph: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

 

An eight-year investigation into the activities of the international crime gang headed by drugs dealer Christy Kinahan is likely to result in money-laundering charges in the coming months in Spain.

The police there failed to find sufficient evidence to bring drugs-trafficking or gun-running charges, with that component of the case having been discontinued about two years ago.

Kinahan, who already has drugs and money-laundering convictions, would only spend a relatively brief period in prison if he were convicted on the money-laundering charges.

Prosecutors in Spain expect charges to be brought against some of the key members of the gang later in the year.

Chief prosecutor for the Marbella area, Julio Martinez told Spanish newspaper El País that charges were imminent but would only relate to money-laundering.

Of the more serious allegations around gun- and drugs-trafficking, he said: “Expectations were very high but the results have not been as satisfactory as we’d anticipated.”

The fact the major international inquiry – called Operation Shovel – has now been closed in Spain without the authorities there finding sufficient evidence on which to ground the more serious prosecutions is a major boost for the gang.

The murder of Dubliner Paddy Doyle (27) near Marbella in February 2008 also formed part of Operation Shovel, although it now appears it will remain unsolved.

Dubliner Kinahan and the group of Irish criminals in his inner circle are resident in Spain and their drugs-trafficking has been organised from there, often involving South American and west African gangs.

Regency Hotel attack

It was members of the group, including Kinahan’s son Daniel Kinahan, who were the targets of gunmen who stormed into a boxing tournament weigh-in at the Regency Hotel, Drumcondra, Dublin, last month and shot dead David Byrne (33) from Crumlin.

That shooting, by men dressed in mock Garda uniforms and carrying AK47s, was regarded as revenge for the shooting dead of Dublin drug dealer and armed robber Gary Hutch (34) near Marbella last September.

Four days after Byrne was shot dead, Gary Hutch’s uncle Eddie Hutch (58), a taxi driver, was shot dead at his home in Dublin’s north inner city.

He was not involved in organised crime but was both an uncle of Gary Hutch and brother of the suspected armed robber Gerry Hutch, also known as the Monk.

A major feud has now begun between the Kinahan gang and those men linked to Gary Hutch who carried out the attack at the Regency.

In May 2010, when co-ordinated raids were staged by police forces in Europe against the Kinahan gang under Operation Shovel, Gary Hutch was the only person arrested in Dublin.

He was at one time very closely linked to the gang and was driving the BMW 4x4 in which Paddy Doyle was shot dead in in February 2008.

In the same month, 1.5 tonnes of cannabis was seized in a small warehouse in Clongorey, Co Kildare, valued at more than €10 million on the streets.

A Garda investigation unravelled a number of shelf companies established to ostensibly export foodstuffs from Spain to Ireland, but whose shipments contained drugs.

The Garda inquiry concluded the companies were controlled by the Kinahan gang and that a similar modus operandi had been used by the gang to ship guns to London.

The Garda supplied the London Metropolitan Police with intelligence which led to the seizure of firearms there.