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Daily Record
Daily Record
National
Gerard Couzens

Scots vodka queen and gangland hubby were 'neighbours from hell' before Spain arrest

Scots vodka queen Nicola Morrissey and her gangland husband became “neighbours from hell” after swapping their £4.5million mansion for an apartment. The couple scaled back to a €1200-a-month (£1040-a-month) rented top-floor flat after US authorities named Johnny Morrissey as a key member of the Kinahan Cartel.

They had invited a luxury Marbella magazine into their home before the former ­Rochdale ­doorman was accused of being a money launderer and Kinahan enforcer in April by the US treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). As we reported on Friday, armed Spanish cops smashed through the apartment’s front door at 6.40am last Monday as the couple slept.

Neighbours at the block near Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol told how the couple quickly got on their wrong side after moving in over the summer. One said: “They’d only just unpacked when Nicola had a run-in with the community president.

“She wanted to do a children’s party around the community pool with a water slide and a bouncy castle. She was told she couldn’t because it was a communal area and got very aggressive.”

Another local said: “They had dogs including an Alsatian and they used to hose down the poop on the outside corridor leading to their front door so it ran off the edge and on to the properties below. They quickly got a reputation as the ­neighbours from hell.”

The couple swapped their luxury mansion for an apartment over the summer (Solarpix)

Morrissey was about to be told to take down an illegally positioned camera over the front door of the three-bed penthouse flat when the former Cork restaurant owner was arrested. It failed to alert him to the operation to snare him because he was asleep when they swooped.

Officers from a Civil Guard unit called the GAR had keys to the entrance gate and are understood to have reached the third floor where Morrissey lived via a basement garage. Morrissey, 62, put on a T-shirt and trainers before being led out in handcuffs in the tropical shorts he is believed to have slept in until he was surrounded in his bed at gunpoint.

Nicola, 46, raised her middle finger to photographers. Morrissey’s arrest contrasted with the ­lifestyle the couple flaunted through the Nero Drinks vodka firm based in Stepps, Lanarkshire, of which Nicola is CEO. Police claim it was a front to camouflage her husband’s alleged criminal activities.

Johnny Morrissey was led away in handcuffs (Solarpix)

Nicola told Exclusive Life, a Marbella business ­magazine, about plans to open a wellness centre near La Cala de Mijas at another property the couple lived at years ago. There were photos of the mansion they lived in until ­Morrissey was hit with sanctions and named in April by the US OFAC as one of seven people including crime boss Christopher Kinahan snr and his son Daniel.

He was said to be so close to Daniel Kinahan that he was invited to his wedding in Dubai in 2017.

The US authorities said: “John Morrissey has worked for the Kinahan Organised Crime Group for several years, including as an enforcer, and facilitates international drug shipments for the organisation from South America. John Morrissey is also involved in money laundering.”

Nicola, 46, raised her middle finger to photographers (Solarpix)

Nero Drinks was one of three firms included in the list and banned from trading in the US. The Civil Guard, Britain’s National Crime Agency and the US DEA say they believe Morrissey helped launder £173million of dirty money in 18 months.

He and an unnamed British man were remanded in custody at a Marbella court on Wednesday. The other suspect is a car salesman said to have provided Morrissey with vehicles in which cash could be hidden secretly.

Nicola was bailed but is under investigation as part of a probe into suspected money laundering and gang membership. Dubai-based Dubliner Kinahan, 45, has insisted he is “not part of a ­criminal gang or any conspiracy. I have no convictions”.

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