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US sanctions cartel leader with links to Tyson Fury

BY: The BBC
Daniel Kinahan leaving court in Spain in 2010
Daniel Kinahan leaving court in Spain in 2010

US officials have announced sanctions against several top members of the Irish Kinahan organised crime group.

Among the seven individuals sanctioned by the US Treasury is Daniel Kinahan, who has previously worked as an advisor to boxer Tyson Fury.

Treasury officials said Mr Kinahan "is believed to run the day-to-day operations of the organisation".

The Kinahan cartel emerged in Dublin in the 1990s and the US says it is one of the world's largest crime groups.

The gang, which the Treasury Department says now uses Dubai as a "hub" for its illegal activities, operates in Ireland, the UK, Spain and the United Arab Emirates, with interests in the drug trade and money laundering, according to the Treasury.

US Under-Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said the gang "smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, to Europe, and is a threat to the entire licit economy through its role in international money laundering".

Speaking at a news conference in Dublin, Drew Harris, the Commissioner of Ireland's Police force hailed the sanctions and warned senior gang members couldn't "hide from justice forever".

The sanctions will target Mr Kinahan, who has previously been named by the Irish High Court as the controller and manager of the gang, his father Christopher Snr - a convicted drug trafficker and alleged founder of the gang, and his brother Christopher Jnr, who the notice accused of working with the gang to "transport and sell narcotics in the United Kingdom".

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has also offered rewards of up to $5m (£3.8m) for information leading to the arrest of any of the three Kinahans.

All those sanctioned will see their US credit and debit cards blocked and any money they hold in US banks frozen. They will also see access to their property restricted.

The Kinahan cartel emerged during Ireland's "Celtic Tiger" period, an era of high economic growth from the 1990s to 2007. Irish media has reported that it holds a virtual monopoly on the import of Peruvian cocaine to Europe, and controls around a third of the total trade of the drug on the continent.

Since 2016, the group has been involved in a bloody war with the rival Hutch gang in Dublin and Spain, resulting in at least 18 deaths. The notice issued by the Treasury department referred to the Kinahan gang as a "murderous organization".

Daniel Kinahan has also become a well-known figure in boxing circles. He is a co-founder of the MTK Global agency, which represents a number of boxing's top fighters, including Tyson Fury and Michael Conlon. Mr Kinahan says he cut ties with the company in 2017.

While Mr Kinahan claims he is no longer associated with the agency, last year Fury expressly thanked him for organising a high-profile bout with then world champion Anthony Joshua.

Just weeks ago Fury was photographed in Dubai with Mr Kinahan.

Scotland's world boxing champion, Josh Taylor, is also one of the boxers represented by MTK Global.

Taylor once described Mr Kinahan as a "great advisor" who is doing great things for the sport of boxing. The BBC has contacted Josh Taylor and his team for comment.

Despite Mr Kinahan's well known links to the drug trade, boxing chiefs have defended his involvement with the sport.

Last month World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaimán offered his "full backing" to the Irishman's continued involvement after a meeting in Dubai.

The Assistant Commissioner of Ireland's Police Force John O'Driscoll condemned Mr Kinahan's standing in the sport, telling reporters at a news conference in Dublin that his influence was "destroying or attempting to destroy a sport that is so important to inner city communities".

After a BBC investigation revealed his continued presence in the sport last year, Mr Kinahan insisted that allegations of criminality are part of a "campaign" against him.

Credit: The BBC