A RAFT of businesses with strong links to Spain have been placed on a US Treasury sanctions list for their association with Ireland’s top mafia gang.
Sanctions have been placed on the leaders and a number of key associates of the legendary Kinahan cartel, which was long based on the Costa del Sol.
As well as Christy Kinahan Snr, Daniel Kinahan and Christopher Kinahan Jnr, the American government has also named Malaga-based figures, including Bernard Clancy and John Morrisey on its comprehensive list.
The father and sons ran their operations from Marbella for years, while living in nearby Estepona, and owned a string of gyms, restaurants and other businesses.
But their downfall began when a rival gangster Gary Hutch was killed in Estepona in 2015, leading to a bloody gang feud with the rival Hutch mob that has seen a series of shooting murders on the Costa del Sol and in Dublin.
Now the US govenment has offered a reward of $5 million (€4.5 million) for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the leaders of the Kinahan cartel.
The US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin said the reward would be provided for ‘information leading to the financial disruption of the Kinahans, or the arrest or conviction’ of the trio.
As well as the three Kinahans, who all now live in Dubai, the authorities have also named Ian Dixon, Sean McGovern and Bernard Clancy, as being key members in the structure of their gang and associated businesses.
But what is most surprising is the inclusion of colourful Costa del Sol businessman John ‘Johnny’ Morrissey, 62, and his high-profile drinks business Nero Vodka.
The well-known character – who has been based in Spain for two decades – has been named by the US authorities as one of Irish gangs’ close associates.
According to the US Department of the Treasury, Morrissey is described as ‘having worked for the Kinahan Organised Crime Gang (KOCG) for several years’.
It claims he is involved in smuggling, money laundering and other key aspects of the Kinahan operation, including as ‘an enforcer’.
The sanctions mean he and his partner Nicola, who is the face and owner of his drinks business, faces the same economic sanctions as the gang bosses.
The Nero Drinks Company Ltd – based in Glasgow but owned by Morrissey’s wife Nicola – has specifically been put on the list of companies that face sanctions, alongside two others, a sports company, Hoopoe Sports, and a marketing company, Ducashew Trading.
The high-end vodka brand is sold at many Costa del Sol beach clubs and is even available in El Corte Ingles after Morrissey fronted a massive publicity campaign over the past few years, with events attracting many well-known members of Marbella society.
He was regularly seen splashed across local English newspapers and was recently a key guest at the Marbella Film Festival.
The sanctions imposed on the Kinahans and the named associates and businesses mean that any US assets held by them must be frozen and reported to the US treasury.
A spokesman said: “All property and interests in property of the designated individuals or entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported”.
In effect, US citizens are banned from doing business with the named people and their companies – anywhere in the world.
This extends to non-US citizens who are resident in the US, or just transiting through.
It almost certainly means that they will now be blacklisted by most other Western countries, who are expected to follow suit.
The US Treasury has even listed the home addresses and passport numbers of all people on the sanctions list, including two addresses for the Kinahans in Marbella and Estepona.
Apart from Morrissey, other associates named are: Irish national Sean McGovern, 36, currently based in Dubai, who is described as Daniel Kinahan’s advisor and closest confidant.
He was wounded in the infamous Regency Hotel shooting in Dublin six years ago as part of the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
Ian Dixon, 32, also based in Dubai is alleged to be the cartel’s money man, while Bernard Clancy, 44, who has addresses in Dubai and Estepona in Spain, is described as a ‘key KOCG lieutenant, who, among other duties, is tasked by Daniel Kinahan with providing wages to elements within the KOCG and payments to others.’
The UAE-based sports management and advisory company, Hoopoe Sports, is owned or controlled by Ian Dixon.
Another company listed is Ducashew General Trading LLC (Ducashew), a UAE-based business management consulting company, is also owned by Daniel Kinahan
Explaining the unprecedented international sanctions being imposed, US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson said: “The group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, to Europe, and is a threat to the entire licit economy through its role in international money laundering.
“Criminal groups like the KOCG prey on the most vulnerable in society and bring drug-related crime and violence, including murder, to the countries in which they operate.
“Treasury is proud to have coordinated so closely with our international counterparts, and the US government will continue to use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks.”
The Kinahan-Hutch feud started on the streets of the Costa del Sol, moved to Dublin and resulted in the deaths of 18 people.
It brought daylight gunshots to the streets of Marbella, featured fake cops in the notorious Regency Hotel boxing match assasination and led to the deaths of three innocent people in cases of mistaken identity.
It has finally seemed to have come to an end after Gerry Hutch – the leader of the Hutch gang- was arrested in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol and extradited to Ireland to face justice.
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