Less than a week before the World Cup is due to kick off, allegations that one of the world’s most wanted men may be hiding out in the Arab nation will raise further concerns about the country’s tattered reputation and suitability to host the prestigious football tournament.
Kinahan is known to be passionate about football - previously splashing out a staggering US$140,000 for a ball signed by Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk used in the 2019 Champions League final.
Although security sources have stated it is their belief that Kinahan remains in Dubai, the Criminal Assets Bureau recently told the High Court it had been unable to make contact with the 45-year-old Dubliner at any of the addresses linked to him in the Emirate.
Speaking this week, US marine turned lawyer Eric Montalvo said of Kinahan, who has now cut off all contact in the civil racketeering case in California, “We’re aware now that he may in a different jurisdiction and we’re investigating those leads,” he said.
“We’re aware that he may have fled to neighbouring Qatar and are investigating this.”
Montalvo’s mission to unearth Kinahan’s latest hide-out comes just weeks after the mob-boss failed to enter any appearance at a case conference in California where he and MTK are being sued for poaching a fighting using money allegedly raised through narco-trafficking, money-laundering and murder.
Mr. Montalvo previously tracked down and successfully served Kinahan with court papers in Dubai.
Court documents obtained by the Sunday World show that Kinahan and MTK were not represented at a video hearing to discuss progress in the case held in the Central District of California on October 21st.
Kinahan and MTK, the boxing company he founded, are being sued by rival boxing manager Moses Heredia – who alleges they used the proceeds of narco-trafficking to fund the illegal poaching of Mexica fighter JoJo Diaz.
Mr. Montalvo said he believes Kinahan, who previously offered to testify from Dubai in the case – is ‘ghosting’ the proceedings because he has ‘bigger fish to fry’ as he continues to evade capture by the US government on criminal charges alleged by the Department of Treasury.
After a €5 million bounty was placed on Kinahan’s head in April, , the mob-boss sacked his legal team in the case and has cut all contact with the court and Heredia’s legal team.
“The case isn’t going away … it is still proceeding forward and there will be updates in 30 to 60 days,” Mr. Montalvo told this newspaper.
Kinahan’s dream of becoming the dominant force in world boxing was shattered in April by the imposition of sanctions by the US government identifying him as the head of an international drug cartel.
The US offered a combined reward of US$15 million for information leading to the arrest of Daniel, his father Christy and brother Christopher Kinahan Jnr.
The sanctions imposed against the trio and their senior associates meant they effectively became trapped in the Middle East.
They cannot fly abroad and can only move now, by less heavily regulated means, over land and sea – tying them to countries in a confined geographical area.
Five months after the sanctions were imposed, US law enforcement scored their first major hit on the cartel with the arrest of the Kinahan’s main money man Johnny Morrissey in Spain.
Spanish police claim Morrissey helped his crime bosses launder a staggering €350,000 a day.
They estimated that Morrissey, an Irish passport holder, who was identified in the US sanctions as a Kinahan cartel enforcer may have laundered more than €200 million, using the Halawa system, in the 18 months prior to his arrest.
Unbeknownst to Morrissey, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) cracked the supposedly ‘untraceable’ money transfer system seven years ago.
Under Project Cassandra, the DEA began investigating the ‘Hawala’ money transfer system in Europe in 2015 after it established that Hezbollah, the Lebanese ‘terror organisation’, was using it to facilitate ‘the movement of large quantities of cocaine into Europe and the United States’.
Under the same operation, the DEA said it had identified participants in the ‘intricate network of money couriers who collect and transport millions of euros in drug proceeds from Europe to the Middle East.”
Essentially, Hawala is an informal funds transfer system that allows for funds to be moved through intermediaries known as ‘hawaladars’, without the money itself ever moving across jurisdictions.
A hawaladar in one country can take receipt of the funds before contacting a hawaladar in another country who will pay out the equivalent sum in cash or goods – but the money itself does not have to cross borders.
No documentation is kept or recorded and the system works on trust between the hawaladars – making it the almost perfect system for terrorists and narcotics traffickers.
One of the many allegations facing Daniel Kinahan and the Kinahan organised crime group is that the cartel established ties with Hezbollah through its use of the Hawala system.
If apprehended, Daniel, Christy and Christopher Jr are likely to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.