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Newly leaked documents reveal extent of Kinahan group’s Dubai property network

Apartment near top of Elite Residence Tower one of many properties connected to the family

"Elite Residence, Dubai, as the name indicates, is a locality for the elites of Dubai," says a United Arab Emirates property website.

The tower, the fourth largest residential building in the world, is located in one of the most sought-after residential areas in the city by the Dubai Marina and “is a perfect area for people who are seeking a city and beach lifestyle”.

It is also one of the many places in Dubai that members of the Kinahan family have called home in recent years.

A large apartment located near the top of the building is part of the valuable property network owned by the Kinahan family and their wider circle, which has been revealed in a leak of Dubai property data dating from 2020.

The data was obtained by the Centre for Advanced Defence Studies (C4ADS), a Washington DC based non-profit specialising in international crime research. The data was shared with The Irish Times through the Norwegian financial outlet E24.

As well as offering insight into the type of property held by the Kinahans and their associates in Dubai, the leak reveals Irish people make up an outsized proportion of property owners in the city which is known for its liberal residency rules and laissez faire approach to regulation.

An analysis of the data by the EU Tax Observatory shows 1,871 Irish people owned 2,647 properties in Dubai, worth a total of €845 million. Ireland ranked 19th in a list of foreign property buyers in the city. Irish people owned similar numbers of properties to people from other EU countries with far bigger populations such as Germany (2,109 properties), Italy (2,407) and France (3,256).

Most European property owners on the list have nothing to do with crime and are legitimate residents or investors in the country. For example, many Irish people travel to Dubai to teach and avail of the tax-free economy.

However, reporters from 19 countries have also identified a large number of criminals and people under international sanctions who call the UAE city home.

This includes more than 100 Russians with close ties to the Kremlin, dozens of Europeans accused of money laundering and corruption, and several politicians accused of mishandling public funds.

Dubai is also popular with criminals such as the Kinahans, who control a drugs smuggling business estimated to be worth up to €1 billion, because it has no standing extradition treaties with the EU or the US.

Spain to Dubai

The Kinahan's criminal enterprise was founded by Christy Kinahan Senior in the 1990s and rapidly expanded to take over much of the drug import market in Dublin. His sons, Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan Junior, later took over the group's day-to-day operations which had by then expanded into an international operation.

Following the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016, and the related feud with the Hutch gang, the three men relocated from their base in Spain to Dubai where they started buying up properties almost immediately.

According to the latest data leak the most expensive property associated with the Kinahans is an apartment near the top of the Elite Residence Tower, located in the Dubai Marina development.

The 3,200 sq ft property is one of only 56 four-bedroom apartments in the tower, which contains a total of 703 units. As of 2020 it was registered in the name of Caoimhe Robinson (40), the Dublin-born wife of Daniel Kinahan.

The pair married in 2017 in a lavish ceremony in the nearby Burj Khalifa, which was attended by numerous high-level criminals including Ridouan Taghi, a Dutch Moroccan drug trafficker suspected of multiple murders, and Raffaele Imperiale, a member of the Italian Camorra who was extradited to Italy last year.

The apartment was estimated to be worth €1.13 million in 2020. Prices in the area have increased significantly since then. It has a rental value of just under €70,000 a year.

Robinson is also the registered owner of a smaller apartment located a 10-minute walk away in the upscale Al Mesk Tower, also in Dubai Marina development. The one-bedroom, 1,184 sq ft apartment was worth an estimated €420,000 in 2020. Similar sized apartments can be rented for €31,000 a year.

Robinson herself is not suspected of involvement in organised crime.

The UAE announced last month it was following the lead of the US and freezing the assets of the Kinahans. Asked this week if these assets included property in the name of Robinson, a UAE government spokesperson said “all relevant assets have been frozen”. The government said it will “continue to pursue its own investigations, and work in close collaboration with relevant authorities in the US, UK, Ireland and Spain on this case”.

Office property

Daniel Kinahan is the registered owner of an office on the 30th floor of the Jumeirah Bay X3 Tower, a 55-storey commercial building located 30 minutes’ walk from the apartments registered in his wife’s name. The 1,227sq ft office was worth an estimated €328,000 in 2020, according to the leak.

The office was purchased by Daniel Kinahan around 2017 as he established a business network in the low-regulation free trade zone around Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

The office was used by Ducashew General Trading LLC which, according to the US Treasury, is "owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, Daniel Kinahan".

Ducashew's recently shuttered website states it is a substantial global business trading in dairy, beef, lamb, rice, coffee and cotton, and doing business with Brazil, China, New Zealand, Australia and the US, among other countries.

Along with members of the Kinahan family and its wider network, Ducashew was listed by the US last month as being subject to sanctions.

Ducashew also operates two offices on the 21st floor of Boulevard Plaza Tower 2, at the other end of the city. Offices in the tower sell for an average of €2.5 million each.

Separate data previously obtained by The Irish Times shows MTK Global Sports Management also operated out of the Jumeriah Bay office. MTK was founded by Daniel Kinahan in 2014 and went on to represent some of the biggest names in boxing.

It claims it cut ties with Kinahan in 2017. Last month MTK announced it was closing down following the announcement of US sanctions.

Part of the Ducashew business was managed by Rebecca Brinkmann, a UK national who lives in Dubai. She was also listed as the "reporting officer", along with Daniel Kinahan, for another business which operated out of the office, Haizum General Trading.

The 2020 data shows Brinkmann owns a four-bedroom apartment in the Sky View building, which is part of the Burj Khalifa complex. The 2,551 sq ft apartment was worth an estimated €1.1 million in 2020.

Brinkmann is not under sanctions and there is no evidence of involvement in organised crime. A previous leak shows she was previously employed by Gulf Finance, a Dubai based financial services company directed by a former military policeman in the Irish Reserve Defence Forces.

Shell companies

The properties contained in the latest leaked data are likely to represent only a fraction of the Kinahan network’s property portfolio. Gardaí and other police forces who have been tracking the gang believe they have used properties and companies worldwide as a way of laundering and storing money.

The data shows a large number of properties owned by foreigners in Dubai are registered under company names or brokers. “It’s highly likely much of the property [the Kinahans] own there were bought using a shell company or something similar,” an Irish security source said.

The list does not include Daniel Kinahan's residence, as listed by the US authorities, on the famous Palm Jumeirah, a man-made island shaped like a palm tree which is directly overlooked by the Elite Residence Tower.

Nor does it include the address listed by the US for Christy Kinahan Junior on the 14th floor of the luxurious Iris Blue Tower, located 2km from Daniel Kinahan's office.

Daniel and Christy Jnr rented the two-bedroom apartment together when they first arrived in Dubai in 2016, paying €46,600 up front to cover the first year. The property had been purchased a year previously for €630,000. It is understood Daniel moved out in 2017 but Christy Jnr remained.

Also named in the US sanctions over his association with the Kinahan group was Ian Dixon (32), who lives in Arabian Ranches, an upscale, gated development of townhouses located 23km outside Dubai city centre. Prices for houses in the Spanish themed development range from €706,190 to €1.2 million.

Dixon was listed as owning 49 per cent of Hoopoe Sports Company, a sports management company. The company operates out of the same office as Ducashew in Boulevard Plaza Tower 2.

The Irish Times sought comments this week from Daniel Kinahan, Robinson, Brinkmann, Ducashew and Gulf Finance. No response was received.

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