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Daily Record
Gerard Couzens & Craig Robertson & Jennifer Hyland

Lavish wedding of mobster’s moll as couple spent tens of thousands on blow-out at Scots castle

The woman behind a vodka firm said to be a front for an international money laundering ring married her mobster husband in a lavish bash at a Scots castle. Gangster’s moll Nicola Morrissey’s life of luxury homes, designer clothing and expensive cars came crashing down last week when she was thrown into a Spanish prison cell over alleged links to an organised crime gang.

The Sunday Mail can reveal the 47-year-old Glaswegian tied the knot with husband Johnny Morrissey at five-star Dundas Castle – spending tens of thousands on the bash, with guests flown in from their home in Marbella. The castle in South Queensferry is where stars such as Travis guitarist Andy Dunlop and James Buckley who plays “Jay” in the Inbetweeners have wed.

Nicola wore a designer wedding dress and called it her “special day” while Johnny posed for pics in a kilt. Police believe their lifestyle has been funded by criminal activity with £173million of dirty money moved across the world by Johnny in one year.

The couple were arrested in Marbella on Monday in a police swoop linked to international Irish crime gang, the Kinahans. In April, Johnny, 62, was named as a key aide to the crime family by authorities in the US, who have put up a $5million reward for information leading to their arrest.

The couple wed at Dundas Castle (Esme Allen)

Spanish police said Nicola’s firm, Nero Drinks Company, which sells so-called premium vodka, was a front to hide Johnny’s alleged criminal activity on behalf of the Kinahan Organised Crime Group (KOGC). Accounts for the firm show in the last year it made a loss of nearly £300,000 – despite a series of celebrity endorsements.

Detectives from six different police forces, including the Spanish Civil Guard, Garda and powerful US DEA law enforcement agency, took part in the operation to snare Johnny Morrissey (Solarpix)

Police branded Nero a “front company” after arresting Nicola and Johnny, insisting there was no way it could be financing the couple’s lifestyle in Marbella.

We told earlier this year how Nero was given up to £10,000 in taxpayer Covid handouts and how the firm in 2019 had sponsored Hamilton Accies FC, with a launch at the stadium featuring the Morrisseys, until payments to the club stopped.

In April, paperwork obtained by the Sunday Mail shows Nicola transferred its registered office from her parents’ house in Stepps, near Glasgow, to a rented office space in the city’s west end.

Records show Nicola’s parents bought their home in October 2018 for £210,100 with no mortgage.

There’s no suggestion they are involved in wrongdoing. Nobody answered at their home yesterday. Two locations in Scotland linked to Nero were searched by police in relation to the Spanish operation, it is understood.

Nicola was led away from one of the couple's villas (Solarpix)

Stars lined up to be pictured with Nicola and Johnny at Costa parties where they turned on the charm for Nero Vodka. The couple posed for selfies with actress Michelle Keegan and husband Mark Wright – with a vodka bottle in the shot.

Actor Will Mellor had his photo taken with the drink in his hand and said: “I absolutely love Nero.” Celebrity Juice host Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, also agreed to pose for shots.There is no suggestion the stars were aware of any alleged criminality.

Nero Drinks was banned from trading in the States over alleged links to the Kinahans. As the boss of the firm, Nicola opened up her Spanish family home last year to a Marbella business and lifestyle magazine.

She said: “This is just the start for Nero Drinks and we have even bigger plans for 2022.”

Johnny Morrissey with wife Nichola and TV celebrity Michelle Keegan (Solarpix)

Nicola posed beside a Rolls- Royce and the couple’s 10-year-old son was also pictured with Johnny in their £4.5million villa. The home lies behind high walls lined with cameras and is one of the properties police searched after taking Johnny and his partner prisoner at a nearby address they had moved to weeks earlier.

In a video of the police raid on their family home, officers were seen removing assets, including an oil painting believed to be of a semi-naked Nicola, from the wall. Sources said the pair had been renting the villa for £5250 a week while they “laid low” after US authorities identified Johnny as a member of the Kinahan Cartel.

The last of their Airbnb tenants left two days before Spanish police went in looking for evidence. They also inspected a £2.5million pad also owned by Johnny.

He is being held in prison in Malaga, while Nicola was bailed after a court appearance last Wednesday. Police said Johnny’s alleged money laundering operation was capable of washing up to £302,000 of dirty cash a day.

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