Christy Kinahan Sr, the alleged head of a drug trafficking empire, is facing a return to Spain to stand trial and a potential four-year jail sentence in charges brought against him from the long-running Operation Shovel investigation into the notorious Kinahan crime family.
Prosecutors on the Costa del Sol are hitting the man known as ‘Godfather’ in Ireland with the charge of trying to use a false British passport to board a flight to Brazil in 2010, and another of possessing a passport in the identity of an Irishman who died in 2002.
Plans to charge Kinahan Sr, 65, along with sons Daniel, 45 and Christopher Jr, 42, with the more serious crimes of money laundering and membership of a criminal gang were dropped after authorities were unable to put together a watertight case.
Out of the 31 original suspects in the Operation Shovel, which was initiated in 2010, only five are facing any charges at all – and all for lesser offences.
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.
Twelve years later, Kinahan Sr is facing two charges, each of two years in jail, to be served consecutively, raising the possibility of an international arrest warrant being put out for him should he fail to appear.
It may come as a shock to the ‘Dapper Don’, who was not expecting such a long sentence, as under Spanish law all sentences under two years are automatically suspended for first time offenders.
Kinahan Sr is a convicted heroin trafficker in Ireland, but in Spain he has no criminal record. He is also facing two fines of €12 per day for nine months, adding up to just over €6,000.
The first charge relates to being caught with a fake British passport under the name of Michael Leslie Swift at Madrid Barajas airport in April 2010 as he attempted to board a flight to Rio de Janeiro.
The prosecuting document, which the Olive Press has seen, states that the mob boss had used the false identity to book the ticket and pick up the boarding pass.
In the second charge, police found a passport in the Costa del Sol town of Benahavis in June 2010 in the name of Irishman Thomas Richard Hasset, allegedly with Kinahan Sr’s photo inserted over that of the original owner. Hasset had died in Ireland on March 23, 2002.
The forged passport was allegedly found in the possession of two other men – Robert Philips and James Naughton – who were ‘surprised’ by police on June 15, 2010 and are each facing suspended sentences of two years in jail and €3,000 fines.
However, senior Kinahan enforcer Ross Browning, 37, is looking at actual jail time of two years, nine months and one day for alleged illegal arms possession of a semi-automatic pistol with the serial number removed.
The prosecutor said: “After entering and searching the home of Ross Browning in Benahavis on May 27, 2010, a Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol whose serial number had been removed and which had been converted for cartridges of 8’8 x 19mm Parabellum ammunition was found ‘in good condition’”.
The fifth defendant is Manilva resident Jasvinder ‘Jas’ Kamoo, who is accused of using false licence plates on a Mercedes C180 car. He is faced with being barred from entering Spain for seven years.
However, the final sentence, should the five men be convicted, is at the discretion of the presiding judge – with only Kinahan Sr and Browning facing the possibility of jail time.
It remains to be seen whether the defendants will be able to be tried in absentia – summoning the prospect of a lengthy and difficult extradition process for extracting Kinahan Sr from the UAE.
Earlier this year, the US government placed a €5m bounty on each of their heads for running their €1billion drugs and arms cartel.