The United Arab Emirates has frozen the assets of Tyson Fury’s former adviser, Daniel Kinahan, who has been named in the Irish courts as being head of one of Europe’s biggest drug cartels.

Earlier this month the U.S. Treasury announced sanctions against what it called the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (KOCG) and rewards of $5 million each for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kinahan, 44, his father Christy Sr, 65, and brother Christy Jr, 41, as well as several other associates accused of money laundering.

Kinahan has been based in Dubai for several years but this week the UAE froze his assets and those of several associates.

He had been little known outside his native Ireland until June 2020 when WBC world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury publicly praised Kinahan for brokering a deal for him to fight WBA, IBF, and WBO champ Anthony Joshua in a lucrative unification fight.

Although the fight never happened—because Deontay Wilder triggered a rematch clause with Fury—it confirmed Kinahan as being a significant player in boxing.

Tyson Fury, of England, knocks down Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight championship boxing match in Las Vegas, on Oct. 9, 2021. (Chase Stevens/AP Photo)

Fury is due to defend his title on Apr. 23 at London’s Wembley Stadium against Britain’s Dillian Whyte but earlier this week the fighter known as The Gypsy King, when asked about the sanctions against Kinahan said: “It’s none of my business. I keep my own business to myself, that’s it.”

U.S. promoter Bob Arum, who owns Top Rank, admitted recently he had paid Kinahan more than $4 million for four fights featuring Fury between 2019 and 2021.

But the promoter of the Fury-Whyte fight, Frank Warren said: “Let me make a couple of things very clear—one, Daniel Kinahan has nothing to do with this show and two, as Tyson said, he was unaware of any payments made by Top Rank to Daniel Kinahan.”

Assassination Attempt

In 2016 hitmen from a rival gang killed a man, David Byrne, in a Dublin hotel during a botched attempt to assassinate Kinahan at a boxing weigh-in. A tit-for-tat feud led to more than 20 murders in Dublin and later this year Gerry Hutch, the alleged leader of the rival gang is due to go on trial for Byrne’s murder.

Nicola Tallant, Irish crime journalist and author of The Clash of The Clans, told The Epoch Times: “Daniel Kinahan’s ego has brought him down. For a long time he stayed in the background but when Tyson Fury called him out he did so with Kinahan’s approval. Kinahan wanted to be seen as the new Don King. He wanted publicity. He couldn’t help himself.”

Kinahan began signing up boxers in 2013 but the company he founded, MTK Global, announced this week it would cease operations.

MTK Global tweeted on Apr. 20: “As a business we have faced unprecedented levels of unfair scrutiny and criticism since the sanctioning by the U.S. government of Daniel Joseph Kinahan.”

They went on to say that Kinahan had ceased to be involved in MTK since 2017 but added: “Since leading promoters have now informed us that they will be severing all ties with MTK and will no longer work with our fighters, we have taken the difficult decision to cease operations at the end of this month.”

On Apr. 12 the United States imposed sanctions against Kinahan and seven other associates as part of a bid to hit their financial operations.

‘European Super-Cartel’

Tallant said: “The DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] have been after Kinahan since 2017, when he formed a European super-cartel with a Balkan cartel, the Mocro Maffia in Holland and Raffaele Imperiale, the head of the Camorra [mafia based in Naples, Italy]. They were buying a huge amount of drugs in the U.S., sending drugs through Philadelphia and getting involved in a big way with the Colombians.”

The U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson said last week, “The Kinahan Organized Crime Group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, to Europe, and is a threat to the entire licit economy through its role in international money laundering.”

The U.S. authorities said the DEA was working closely with the Irish police, An Garda Síochána, the UK’s National Crime Agency, and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

Tallant said international law enforcement was going for the Kinahans’ money and trying to “cut off their oxygen supply.”

She said the Kinahans had hoped to “sport-wash” their money but she said boxing was just one of many businesses they were involved in.

“They have invested in China and Russia. Christy Kinahan Sr. claims to be an aviation broker and is also involved in healthcare and green trading and businesses in Africa,” Tallant said. “They’ve recently moved some of their funds into Oman and they have been looking at Pakistan and Azerbaijan but they will only be welcomed if they have money.”

Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee welcomed the UAE’s announcement and said: “This shows the swift impact of the sanctions announced last week to dismantle the Kinahan organized crime group. … The net is now clearly tightening on the Kinahan organized crime group.”

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist covering a wide range of national stories, with a particular interest in crime, policing and the law.

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