- bbc world of news
It was in June 2021 when the King of the Gypsies confirmed it on his social networks.
“I just got off the phone with Daniel Kinahan. He just informed me that the biggest fight in British boxing history has been agreed.”
Tyson Fury, known as the King of the Gypsies, world heavyweight champion, thus confirmed his fight with Anthony Joshua.
“For British boxing fans, there couldn’t be better news. The two best heavyweight boxers in the world would battle it out to be the undisputed world champion,” recalls BBC journalist Darragh MacIntyre.
“But Tyson Fury hadn’t just given fans the news they wanted to hear. He had also revealed one of boxing’s darkest secrets. The man he thanked three times in his 55-second video is allegedly one of the main gangsters in Europe, whose cartel drug, gun, and murder smugglingMacIntyre adds.
The man mentioned by Tyson Fury was Daniel Kinahan, one of the seven people on whom the United States Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions last April for being part of the Kinahan cartel, an organization accused by Washington of being behind activities illegal in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
The British press has compared them to the Italian mafia and the Zetas in Mexico.
brawl of clans
US Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson stated that the gang “smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, into Europe and poses a threat to the entire licit economy because of its role in international money laundering“.
In addition to Daniel Kinahan, two others sanctioned are his father Christopher and his brother of the same name. They all have their credit and debit cards frozen in the US, as well as any money they may have in US banks.
The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also offered rewards of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of any of the three Kinahans.
The Irish media have reported that it has a virtual monopoly on the importation of Peruvian cocaine into Europe and controls around a third of the total drug trade on the continent.
But it is not only drug trafficking that is at stake. The Treasury Department communication refers to this cartel as a “killer organization.”
Since 2016, the group has been embroiled in a bloody war with rival gang Hutch in Dublin and Spain, resulting in at least 18 dead.
The most remembered incident of this confrontation occurred in February 2016 at the Regency hotel in Dublin when an assassination attempt on Daniel Kinahan left one dead and two injured.
The hotel was the venue chosen by the Kinaham sports company dedicated to boxing -MGM- to organize a pugilistic tournament: “Clash of Clans”.
A year later, according to his own words, Kinahan would have ended his link with MGM -representative of several top-level boxers-, but Tyson Fury’s words revealed that the link between him and this sport was still valid.
Following the Fury video, the BBC’s Panorama program investigated Daniel Kinahan’s involvement with boxing’s top brass, leading to calls for stricter regulation.
Kinahan responded that his success in the boxing world “has sparked a major campaign” against him.
“I have dedicated myself to my work in boxing for more than 15 years. I am proud to say that I have helped organize more than a dozen great fights for the world title,” said Kinahan, adding:
“I am not part of a criminal gang or any conspiracy. I have no convictions.”
The BBC team that produced the show received threats after the story aired. Kinahan also denied being involved in these threats.
Panorama asked Fury if Kinahan was still his adviser, but got no answer.
Raids in Spain
In 1986, Christopher Kinahan, Daniel’s father, was arrested for heroin trafficking.
“He was operating out of a safe house, a luxury apartment that was at the center of heroin distribution in almost all of Dublin,” Michael O’Sullivan, who made the arrest, told the BBC.
Christopher Kinahan was sentenced in Ireland to 6 years, followed by further sentences in the Netherlands and Belgium.
But as BBC journalist Darragh MacIntyre writes, that time was used by Daniel’s father to “increase his contact listgenerating what would be known among different security forces as the Kinahan Organized Criminal Group (KOCG)”.
By 2010, the KOCG had established its operations in Marbella, southern Spain. In May of that year the authorities of that country – with the help of the Irish, British and Dutch police – launched a series of raids that resulted in the three Kinahan detained, several associates arrested, houses and luxury cars confiscated.
But the entire Spanish operation, which lasted 10 years, did not result in any conviction for Daniel Kinahan.
Journalists Stephen Breen and his colleague Owen Conlon got their hands on a copy of the police files and wrote The Cartel, a study of the Kinahans’ activities.
“Their money laundering networks were global and included properties worth more than 500 million euros in northern Brazil,” Breen told the BBC.
“The money was sent to Cyprus, to Lichtenstein, to Switzerland, to Panama, all to hide the cartel’s money,” he added.
Could Washington sanctions have a better chance of ending the activities of this cartel than the actions of the Spanish security forces?
For the editor of Security and Crime of the newspaper The Irish Times, “it is very likely that they will continue with their international drug business”, but something can change.
“It will now be impossible for them, or indeed much more difficult, to make deals – even unofficially – for very lucrative boxing matches, because most of them have an American component, including broadcast deals,” Conor Lally wrote.
“In short, when Americans put a $5 million bounty on you, stigmatizes you globally. It will be very difficult for Daniel Kinahan to keep claiming that he is just a businessman trying to make his way in the world.”
The first impact of the US sanctions came a few days later, when the United Arab Emirates government decided to freeze assets linked to this group.
Republic of Ireland Prime Minister Micheál Martin welcomed the move, saying it illustrated the power of countries working together “to put pressure on these criminal groups and significantly reduce their activities.”
Finally, the fight between Fury and Joshua has not been made and does not have a date of completion.
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