SPANISH prosecutors have announced they are pushing ahead with their case against alleged Irish mafia boss Christy Kanahan.
The alleged ringleader of a drug trafficking empire will face charges of possession of illegal arms and the falsifying of documents such as passports, along with various other crimes.
Christy is one of five who will have to stand trial for their alleged roles in the cocaine and drug empire which saw a string of assassinations both in Ireland and the Costa del Sol over the years.
But 27 members of the network – including his sons Daniel and Christopher – have sensationally been let off, with investigators saying they were unable to gather enough evidence to pursue a trial.
They had been accused of a litany of crimes, including money laundering and of belonging to a criminal organisation.
It comes after they were arrested as part of Operation Shovel between 2008 and 2010.
Under the orders of an Estepona court, the investigation dealt the biggest blow to Irish organised crime in southern Spain and is believed to have been the catalyst for them to move their operations to the Middle East.
The international probe, which included help from the Irish Gardai, came after the assassination of Patrick Doyle, 27, who was shot dead in Estepona in February of 2008.
The alleged hitman’s slaying in an urbanisation in the otherwise peaceful costa resort inspired police to launch a crackdown on the mafia.
Authorities attempted to finger the Irish gang for money laundering, but after 10 years since the arrests, that line of investigation has been dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Meanwhile more than 100 luxury properties were raided in a bid to find evidence, with just five of the 32 arrested now set to stand trial.
Christy Kihanan, reportedly known as the Godfather in Ireland, and two other men, Robert Edward Phillips and James Gregory Naughton, have been charged with passport fraud.
The court ruling says the investigation has uncovered ‘sufficient evidence’ Christy Kinahan ‘used a false passport to travel from Madrid’s Barajas Airport to Rio in Janeiro in Brazil on April 30 2010.
It adds: ‘To be specific, he used a British passport in the name of Michael Leslie Swift.
“This travel document was allegedly used by the suspect to reserve the air ticket, obtain the boarding card and pass through a police checkpoint.”
According to police the Irish cartel owned property in Brazil worth €500 million.
However the country took FIVE years to respond to the Spanish courts while Cyrpus, another location of interest, sent its reply in Greek, causing another 18-month delay.
The Spanish press described the obstacles as ‘unprecedented.’
The trial will likely take place next year.