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US puts $5M bounty on heads of Irish gang based in Dubai

DUBLIN — The United States, Britain and Europol launched a joint crackdown on Tuesday against Ireland’s top organized crime family, whose leaders are currently living beyond their reach in Dubai.

At a press conference in Dublin, the U.S. government announced a $5 million bounty for information leading to the arrests of the heads of the Kinahan cartel — Christy and his sons Daniel and Christy Jr. — as well as four lieutenants.

Ireland has struggled for years to shut down a cocaine-smuggling empire that began a quarter-century ago in urban Dublin and today supplies much of Western Europe. The Kinahans maintain their dominant position with lethal force, most notably in a lopsided feud with their smaller Irish rivals, the Hutches, that has claimed at least 18 lives in Ireland and Spain since 2015.

Yet until now, the Irish police have been hamstrung in pursuing the Kinahans overseas, where the gang’s reputed head, Daniel, has sought to rebrand himself as a boxing promoter supported by many within the sport.

Ireland’s police chief, Drew Harris, said he hoped those attitudes would change now — and authorities in the United Arab Emirates will join the international crackdown on the Kinahans.

“What was implicit before, and what some individuals could choose to ignore, is absolutely explicit now,” Harris said, adding: “This is also explicit, then, to the authorities in the UAE.”

In its dossier freezing the U.S.-controlled properties and financial assets of the Kinahan cartel, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control published the known addresses of the Kinahan gang’s leadership in Spain, England, the Netherlands and most recently Dubai. Businesses being targeted include a Dubai-based boxing promotion agency and a luxury drinks firm run from Spain and registered in Scotland.

The newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin, told the press conference that the U.S. would pay up to $5 million for information that would put any of the three Kinahans behind bars.

Gregory Gatjanis, associate director of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Global Targeting, said Kinahan associates also trafficked drugs on American soil and were deemed as big a threat to national security as Japan’s Yakuza, Italian organized crime groups or the Russian underworld.

Matt Horne, deputy director of investigations at the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, said British authorities would slap similar freezing orders on Kinahan-owned assets.

“This group thought they were untouchable, but this shows that we will explore every opportunity to disrupt their criminal activities. And we will not stop here,” he said.

The Irish police also announced a new European Arrest Warrant for one of the seven: Sean McGovern, a Dublin native wanted for murder as part of the Hutch feud. The U.S. sanctions document described him as Daniel Kinahan’s “closest confidant.”

McGovern was among the wounded when Hutch gang members armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles riddled a Dublin boxing event being promoted by the Kinahans. That 2015 attack claimed two lives but missed top target Daniel Kinahan, who fled back to Spain. In the following months, gunmen loyal to the Kinahans killed more than a dozen Hutch gangsters, family members and bystanders in a string of Dublin shootings.

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