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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Cate McCurry & Marita Moloney

Kinahans join most wanted list as $5 million reward offered and gangsters warned 'they can't hide forever'

The US government is offering $5 million for information on the Kinahan crime gang or for the arrest and conviction of its leaders.

It comes as a US government department imposed sanctions against seven senior members of the Kinahan crime gang as part of a bid to target their financial operations.

US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin told an event at Dublin City Hall that the US department of the treasury is offering a reward of $5 million/€4.6 million for information that will lead to the "financial destruction" of the Kinahan crime gang or the arrest and conviction of its leaders.

READ MORE: LIVE updates as US offers $5 million award for information on Kinahan cartel

Speaking at the event, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said the Kinahan gang is worth more than one billion euro through its criminal enterprise.

Mr Harris warned senior gang members that they can run but "can't hide from justice forever", adding that they will eventually run out of money.

Among those sanctioned by the US department of the treasury's office of foreign assets control (OFAC) were its key members, including leaders Christy Kinahan Snr, Daniel Kinahan and Christy Kinahan Jnr.

They were named as being heads of the criminal network.

Also named and sanctioned were their associates Sean McGovern, Ian Dixon, Bernard Clancy and John Morrissey.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking at Dublin City Hall on Tuesday. (PA Wire/PA Images)

A number of businesses were also identified as being associated with the crime gang.

John O'Driscoll, Assistant Commissioner at the Organised and Serious Crime Unit of An Garda Siochana, said the Kinahan cartel has expanded to the extent that the gang operates on an international basis.

No one country or law enforcement agency can bring a gang of this level to justice, achieving this instead requires international cooperation, Mr O'Driscoll said.

Gardai have intervened on a total of 46 occasions when it comes to threat to life incidents orchestrated by the crime group, he said

These operations prevented "almost certain murder" and hit teams were subsequently identified and placed under surveillance, and 22 people have been convicted as a result of intervention in these threat to life incidents, he added.

Gardai, though collaboration with international law enforcement agencies, will seek to dismantle the group's activities and "as is often the case when it comes to demolition", the intention is to build something better than can last into the future.

By removing the "evil edifice of crime in communities across the globe", including Dublin, gardai aim to contribute to rebuilding communities as places less likely to experience the tragic consequences of organised crime groups, Mr O'Driscoll added.

In a statement, the US department said the action is the result of close collaboration between OFAC, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US department of state, An Garda Siochana, the UK's National Crime Agency and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation.

Under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian E. Nelson, said: "The Kinahan organised 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.

"Criminal groups like the KOCG (Kinahan organised 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 co-ordinated so closely with our international counterparts, and the US government will continue to use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks."

US ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin, speaking at Dublin City Hall, after it was announced that the US government is offering five million dollars for information on the Irish Kinahan crime gang or for the arrest and conviction of its leaders (PA Wire/PA Images)

As a result of the action, all property and interests in property of the named gang members and their businesses that are in the US or in the possession or control of US people will be blocked and reported to OFAC.

OFAC's regulations generally prohibit all transactions by US people or people within, or transiting, the United States that involve any property or interests in property of those who have been sanctioned.

In a lengthy statement, the US treasury office said that the Kinahan crime gang, which operates in Ireland, is also established in the UK, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

It described their operations as a "significant transnational criminal organisation".

It said the gang emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s as the most "powerful organised crime group" operating in Ireland.

Since then, Irish courts have said that the Kinahan gang is 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 pooled together and passed to local criminals before being handed to Irish organised crime group members and laundered out of the UK.

The Kinahans also frequently use Dubai as a facilitation hub for its "illicit activities".

Since February 2016, the criminal gang has been involved in a gang war with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting in numerous murders, including of two innocent bystanders.

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