The US government is offering a $5 million reward for information on the Irish criminal gang Kinahan, or for the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
It comes after the Treasury imposed sanctions on seven senior officials of the notorious Irish cartel in a bid to target their financial operations, which will deal a ‘death blow’ to their criminal activities, the Irish police chief has said.
Speaking at an event at Dublin City Hall, US Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin said the US Department was offering a reward of five million US dollars (3.8 million pounds sterling/4.6 million euros) for information that would lead to the “financial destruction” of the criminal gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the Kinahan Group was worth more than a billion euros thanks to its criminal enterprise. Daniel Kinahan, 44, has already been named by Irish courts as the head of one of Europe’s biggest drug gangs.
Mr Harris warned senior members they can run but ‘can’t hide from justice forever’, adding they will eventually run out of money.
Among those sanctioned by the US Department of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) were its top members, including leaders Christy Kinahan Snr, Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan Jnr, all named as heads of the criminal network .
Their associates Sean McGovern, Ian Dixon, Bernard Clancy and John Morrissey were also named and sanctioned.
Three associated companies have also been identified as being linked to the gang.
The US Department said the action was the result of close collaboration between OFAC, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US State Department, Irish law enforcement, the UK National Crime Agency and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Undersecretary Brian E. Nelson said, “The Kinahan Organized Crime Group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, into Europe and poses a threat to the entire licit economy because of its role in international money laundering.
“Criminal groups like the KOCG (Kinahan Organized Crime Group) 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 its international counterparts, and the U.S. government will continue to use all available resources to dismantle these criminal networks.”
As a result of the action, all property and interests in the property of named gang members and their businesses that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons will be blocked and reported to OFAC. .
OFAC regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within or transiting the United States that involve the property or interest in the property of those who have been sanctioned.
In a lengthy statement, the US Treasury office said the Kinahan criminal gang, which operates in Ireland, also has bases in the UK, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
He described their operations as a “significant transnational criminal organization”.
He said the gang emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the “most powerful organized crime group” operating in Ireland.
Since then, Irish courts have declared the Kinahan gang to be a “murderous organisation” involved in the international trafficking of drugs and firearms.
Criminal activities include international money laundering, generating proceeds in the UK which are then bundled and passed to local criminals before being handed over to members of Irish organized crime groups and laundered outside the UK.
The Kinahan also use Dubai as a facilitation platform for their “illicit activities”.
Since February 2016, the criminal group has been embroiled in a gang war with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting in numerous murders, including those of two innocent bystanders.