U.S. Crackdown Targets Boxing Figure Accused of Organized Crime

The US government announced a severe crackdown on Tuesday against Daniel Kinahan, the accused boss of an Irish organized crime group that has long been involved in boxing, including with one of its biggest stars, Tyson Fury.

Rewards of $5 million were offered for information leading to Kinahan’s arrest and conviction; her father, Christy; and his brother Christy Jr. The US Treasury Department also announced financial sanctions against the Kinahans, other members of their group, and several related businesses, including a sports management company based in the United Arab Emirates, where US officials they say that Kinahan now lives.

Credit…US Department of State

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

Kinahan has previously been represented by the British law firm Brandsmiths in libel cases. Adam Morallee, a partner at Brandsmiths, said in an email that he had “searched for instructions” but had not yet heard from Kinahan. Kinahan’s lawyers in the United States did not respond to an email requesting comment on the sanctions.

At a press conference in Dublin, Greg Gatjanis, associate director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, compared the Kinahan group to the Camorra in Italy, the yakuza in Japan and Los Zetas in Mexico.

Outside of Ireland, however, Daniel Kinahan, 44, is best known for his profound influence on boxing. In 2012, he founded MTK Global, a boxing and mixed martial arts company that represents top British boxers such as Fury, Billy Joe Saunders and Michael Conlan.

MTK Global, which was not subject to sanctions by the US government, said it cut ties with Kinahan after a 2016 shooting at the Regency Hotel in Dublin during the weigh-in of a planned boxing match between Jamie Kavanagh and Antonio Joao Bento. According to Irish media reports, Kinahan is believed to have been the target of the shooting, in which an associate of Kinahan’s was killed.

John O’Driscoll, deputy commissioner of the Irish National Police Service, said the shooting was a pivotal moment that led police to stop thinking of the Kinahans as a “group of criminals located and involved in crime in Dublin” and start to think of as “a transnational organized crime group that possesses significant wealth.”

Even after the 2016 shooting, Kinahan’s boxing connections have endured. In February he posed for a photo with Fury in Dubai, and last month he posed for a photo with Mauricio Sulaimán, president of the World Boxing Council, a sanctioning organization in the sport. Kinahan was also involved in the ultimately abortive negotiations to secure a lucrative two-fight deal between Fury and Anthony Joshua.

Drew Harris, head of the national police service in Ireland, urged athletes and sports officials to cut all ties with the Kinahans.

“In terms of some people, prominent athletes who are connected in some way to this group, I would say they need to look at their sport, their fans and think about their own reputation,” Harris said.

Harris also warned British broadcasters who have shown fights with Fury and other fighters associated with MTK Global to “watch their own business” and consider whether they want to stay involved with them.

The sanctions against Kinahan and those associated with the Kinahan organized crime group, which authorities say are worth more than $1 billion, seek to isolate them from much of the global financial system. All their property and money in the United States is blocked, and US citizens, as well as anyone else on US soil, are virtually prohibited from transacting with them.

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