Crime & Law
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The Kinahan cartel and the mystery of 10 Coldwater Lakes

Investigation into control of mansion in west Dublin gives gardaí valuable insights into notorious crime gang

The House at Coldwater Lakes sounds like a title of a novel or movie thriller but the property at No 10 Coldwater Lakes may be more likely to feature in some future documentary concerning the operations of the Kinahan cartel.

A long-running investigation into control of the luxury mansion in Saggart in west Dublin has given gardaí valuable insights into a notorious organised crime gang with tentacles worldwide.

The Criminal Assets Bureau's (Cab) investigation has left the bureau satisfied No 10 was sold for €2 million in 2006 to a company of the group founded by deceased businessman James Mansfield snr and later passed, around 2014, into the control of the organised crime group (OCG) involving Daniel Kinahan and Thomas Kavanagh.

Cab’s investigation concerning Number 10 has covered several people, some believed by the bureau to be involved in serious criminal conduct on an international scale, others who are mere facilitators of criminal conduct and some ordinary citizens with no involvement in crime.

Complex web

Having spent years trying to unravel a complex web of dealings concerning the five-bedroom property, Cab believes it was ceded by businessman Jim Mansfield jnr, a son of James Mansfield snr, into the control of the OCG around 2014 after a €4.5 million property investment deal went sour.

Last month, Cab, in proceedings against brothers Jim Mansfield jnr and PJ Mansfield, Daniel Kinahan and Thomas Kavanagh, obtained High Court orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act for seizure of the property at No 10.

The Mansfield brothers consented to those orders but the proceedings have yet to be finalised against Kinahan, believed to be in Dubai, and Kavanagh, formerly of Knocknaree Road, Drimnagh, Dublin, who was jailed for 21 years by an English court last March on drug and money laundering charges. The case has been adjourned to June 21st while CAB tries to identify the whereabouts of Kinahan.

Cab, in affidavits to the High Court, has claimed information from a protected witness indicates that Jim Mansfield jnr gave Number 10, plus various cash payments, to the Kinahan/Kavanagh organised crime gang (OCG), following failure to make property investments with about €4.5 million in cash the gang gave him in two suitcases on Good Friday 2009.

In seeking to trace the ownership of No 10 Coldwater Lakes, Cab investigators, according to the affidavits, are satisfied the property was given by James Mansfield snr years ago to professional golfer Christy O'Connor jnr, since deceased, as payment for his work designing golf courses at the Citywest complex.

Cab is satisfied Mr O'Connor later sold the property in 2006 to HSS Ltd, a company in the Mansfield Group after establishing that a cheque for €2 million, signed by James Mansfield snr, was lodged to Mr O'Connor's AIB account in August 2006.

Normal paperwork

Apart from the cheque, Cab says it has been unable to locate any executed contract, completed conveyance, tax payment or any of the normal paperwork linked to such transactions.

The late golfer’s daughter, Ann O’Connor, told Cab in 2017 that her father had sold the property to the Mansfields years earlier through a Dublin-based law firm and it was not an asset in his estate when he died, the affidavit states.

Mr O’Connor’s involvement with Number 10 ceased in 2006, years before the property is suspected to have passed into the control of the Kinahan cartel and there is no suggestion by Cab of any connection, at any stage, between Mr O’Connor and the cartel.

A former employee of the Mansfields, a protected witness, told Cab that while the house was occupied by Anne Mansfield between 2006 and 2010 when she and her husband were separated, the actual owner of No 10 was always James Mansfield snr. Anne Mansfield moved back into her former home at Tassaggart House when James Mansfield snr became ill, the employee said.

According to the affidavits, No 10 was listed as an asset of HSS Ltd, the Mansfield group holding company, on its books and records from 2007 to March 31st 2010, valued at €2.1 million with a recommended impairment of €1.1 million, giving a net value of €1 million.

Martin Ferris, the receiver appointed over assets of HSS, told Cab he was not appointed as receiver over No 10 and this, plus other evidence, has lead Cab to believe No 10 was not an asset of HSS. No paperwork has been obtained concerning the purchase by HSS Ltd of the property from Christy O'Connor jnr in 2006 or concerning any subsequent transfer from HSS Ltd to James or Anne Mansfield either before or after the receivership of HSS.

Financial crash

The former Mansfield employee has told Cab, because the fortunes of the Mansfield business deteriorated significantly in the financial crash and it entered receivership, the investment deal of 2009 soured and the crime group was given the property and cash payments instead.

The employee told Cab that Jim Mansfield jnr was concerned for his safety and had been warned on several occasions by gardaí about threats to his life. There were discussions with Mansfield jnr about the best way to transfer the property to Kavanagh without “leaving a trail”, he said.

In the meantime, it was agreed the Kavanaghs would take possession of No 10 as they wanted to carry out work and upgrade the CCTV, the employee said.

The Cab was told that around April-May 2014, the keys of 10 Coldwater Lakes were handed to the Kavanaghs and, after that, the Mansfields had nothing to do with that property.

The employee told Cab he was told by others the €4.5 million was owned by the Kinahans and the Kavanaghs were “nobody and only a go-between”.

When interviewed, Jim Mansfield jnr said he never got anything off the Kavanaghs and did not owe them anything, according to Cab’s affidavit.

Last January, Mansfield jnr received an 18 month sentence after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by ordering the destruction of CCTV footage showing him with his former employee Martin Byrne on the morning that Mr Byrne was kidnapped by well-known criminals and INLA figures Dessie O'Hare and Declan Duffy.

He was acquitted by the Special Criminal Court of a separate charge of conspiracy to falsely imprison Mr Byrne.

No 10 was one of more than 30 properties searched on January 29th, 2015, and information obtained during those searches and from further investigations, led to Cab suspecting control of No 10 had passed to Daniel Kinahan and Thomas Kavanagh.

Cab believes No 10 appeared in early 2015 to be occupied by Daniel Kinahan. A passport and an Aer Lingus baggage sticker in his name were found there and Aer Lingus later confirmed the baggage sticker referred to one Daniel Kinahan, with an address in Marbella, and related to a flight dated November 7th, 2014. Cab has also linked €3,850 cash seized in the property during the January 2015 search to Daniel Kinahan. An analysis of a laptop found in No 10 linked its use to Daniel Kinahan's younger brother, Christopher.

Cab has also linked some friends and business associates of Daniel Kinahan to the property, including by establishing that a Sky account of the property was, for a time, in the name of a friend of Kinahan’s.

Murder of Gary Hutch

A receipt for €279 for a bracelet was found which, Cab says, was purchased by James Quinn, formerly of Westcourt, Basin Street, Dublin, a close associate of Daniel Kinahan. Quinn has 70 convictions here and is now serving a 22-year sentence in Spain in connection with the murder of Gary Hutch, the crime believed to have ignited the Hutch/Kinahan feud. Quinn was found guilty in June 2018 as being a necessary participant in that September 24th, 2015 murder.

Cab says its investigation also indicates that an associate of Liam Byrne, a brother-in-law of Thomas Kavanagh, paid for works to be carried out to No 10.

Other persons interviewed by the bureau appeared to have an innocent association with the property, it has said.

The affidavits outline that Cab suspects, sometime in 2014, Jim Mansfield jnr tried through a solicitor to have the title to No 10 perfected so the Kavanaghs could enter a formal contract for it but that was never finalised.

Investigations in 2017 indicated a solicitor was representing that a petty criminal from Dublin, who Cab suspects was being used by others as a pawn, was the vendor of the property.

A potential purchaser was referred to another solicitor who told Cab he was totally confused about several key matters – who was organising the sale, who had a vested interest in the property and who ultimately intended to purchase it.

Former car dealer

That solicitor said he was told by Dubliner Lee Cullen – a former car dealer now serving a 21-year sentence imposed in 2018 for his part in a gun-smuggling operation –that the owners of No 10 were Leisure Park Retail Estate (LPRE), then a UK company whose directors included close associates of Liam Byrne, Thomas Kavanagh and Daniel Kinahan.

Byrne, whose brother David was shot dead at Dublin's Regency Hotel during a boxing tournament in 2016, as well as being a brother-in-law of Kavanagh, is regarded by Cab as a close associate of Daniel Kinahan.

Lee Cullen fled to the UK several years ago after coming under intense scrutiny by Cab over suspected links to the Kinahan/Kavanagh cartel.

Cab believes the LPRE link was another effort to move the property into the legitimate ownership of individuals linked to the OCG.

During a May 2019 search of No 10 seeking information to establish its ownership structure, information obtained indicated it was being resided in, rent free, by a man regarded as a close friend and business partner of Daniel Kinahan.

Another man, a convicted drug dealer and known associate of Liam Byrne, was captured on CCTV at No 10 Coldwater Lakes and an unregistered business linked to that man was named on the property’s electricity account for a period.

The information obtained has led to Cab seeking to have No 10, now with an estimated value of some €800,000, seized for the benefit of the State.

Cab has also outlined in an affidavit that the investigation into No 10 has its roots in an investigation initiated in mid-2014 by the bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) into a west Dublin based criminal organisation.

Based on intelligence information, it was suspected a group of individuals had set up multiple companies to operate a fraudulent HR and payroll administration system targeting the processes of the Revenue Commissioners,with the proceeds of that alleged fraud being laundered in various forms, resulting in losses of some €7 million in unpaid taxes to the Revenue.

As part of that investigation, Cab and the GNDOCB executed 31 searches nationwide on January 29th, 2015, seizing documents and electronic devices. The places searched included various properties, including Number 10, an accountancy practice and a payroll company. Various alleged criminal offences were detected on the day of searches and the GNDOCB has taken the primary lead concerning those alleged offences, it was stated.

The alleged payroll fraud is alleged to have involved setting up eight Irish companies and 30 UK companies. The investigation into the alleged fraud is still under way, several files have been sent to the DPP and 12 people have been interviewed in relation to it.

Irish companies

Cab suspects an accountant was directed to set up eight Irish companies, which were tax registered, and 30 UK companies. The bureau believes that, under the control of persons linked to the OCG, the Irish companies offered very competitive rates resulting in them getting contracts to provide payroll and other services to labour intensive companies who outsourced their staff under the European TUPE Directive. The payment sought amounted to about 1 to 3 per cent of payroll and it is claimed the alleged fraud involved the Irish companies not paying PAYE, PRSI, USC and VAT.

Investigators believe, when the Revenue tried to move against the Irish companies, shelf companies under the control of the OCG would move to take over the payroll of the client companies with a new bank account. This resulted in the Irish and the shelf companies building up tax liabilities and the alleged fraud was only stopped after the Revenue got orders freezing certain accounts.

The OCG, Cab believes, was giving cash in envelopes as incentives to the owners and directors of the client companies.