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Kinahan Cartel sanctioned when it became nexus between organized crime and Iranian-backed terrorists

John O'Driscoll, intelligence chief, has identified an "important nexus" between funding for organized crime and terrorism, noting that this worry was the primary factor in the US government's decision to sanction the Kinahan Cartel.

Kinahan Cartel sanctioned when it became nexus between organized crime and Iranian-backed terrorists

Mr. O'Driscoll, who was until recently the police chief in charge of Ireland's organized crime units, played a crucial role in the campaign to have the Kinahan Organized Crime Group (OCG) sanctioned and each of the gang leaders given multimillion-euro bounties.


"What’s very important is the nexus between organised crime and terrorists," Mr. O'Driscoll said at the recent European Anti Financial Crime Summit.


According to Mr. O'Driscoll, "The U.S were anxious to assist us with the Kinahans, but there was a selfish reason."


"They are reckless how they launder money." According to Mr. O'Driscoll, there is "the potential to finance terrorism."


"This is the way organised crime groups are going, identifying people in places like Iran, where they can launder money."


"They don’t care what happens to those laundering money for them."

According to Mr. O'Driscoll, because the Kinahans at their peak of power had a global reach, collaboration between the United States, the British National Crime Agency (NCA), and the gardai was essential to creating a plan that could bring the gang to justice.


The United States offered a nearly €5 million reward in April of last year in exchange for information leading to the Kinahans' capture.


Due of the Dublin gang's global reach, Mr. O'Driscoll claimed that the announcement was essential to pursuing the Kinahans.


Mr. O'Driscoll noted in his remarks to financial specialists at the conference that while many in the industry would view the arrest of OCG members as a triumph, this was not necessarily the case. He continued that drugs seizures occasionally only led to "bad debt" being written off.


He said, "This was key to the Kinahan issue. But there was a target to dismantle (this) criminal organisation."


The gardai's strategy was to make sure that after members were arrested, new leaders did not emerge.


"Every day there was going to be a focus (on dismantling the Kinahans)," he claimed.


The gardai were finally able to stop the gang's and their associates' movement thanks to the cooperation of the U.S. Customs and Border Service.


"We restricted movement and restricted their power," he claimed. "Over 400 people were restricted."


He said the purpose of this was to stop the gang from "laundering assets," especially "through the boxing industry."


"We targeted those assets and restricted the movement from those who were going to perform," he claimed.


"Some major figures in the boxing world couldn’t perform," declared Mr. O'Driscoll.


However, because the Kinahans were domiciled in Dubai, it was challenging for gardai to approach them in the manner that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) would have typically done with targets.


"The tentacles didn’t reach as far as the criminal organisation. But we brought on board the U.S authorities, and the U.S customs and border agency," he said.


He claimed that he had asked himself, "Why? OFAC couldn’t get involved." The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the U.S. Treasury had never been involved in Irish crime. But he set out to change that.


In order to have a real and long-lasting impact, according to Mr. O'Driscoll, acting against the Kinahans is now imperative.


"That was a door I knocked on in Washington," he remarked. "Fortunately they came on board. And we became almost as powerful as the criminal organisation."


The former garda acknowledged that lacking the resources "to match the criminals" is "one of the problems" facing An Garda Siochána.


However, he believes that the situation has altered as a result of America's efforts to combat the crime group.

By fLEXI tEAM


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