Friday 21 July 2017

Major Dutch criminal linked to Kinahan cartel found with 'Aladdin's cave of designer goods'

Buik 'Belly' Fassih had an Aladdin's cave of designer goods when gardai raided the property, writes Jim Cusack

Big catch: Naoufal Fassih, the obese Moroccan-born criminal. Photo: Collins
Big catch: Naoufal Fassih, the obese Moroccan-born criminal. Photo: Collins
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

A limited edition "Michael Schumacher" watch valued at €40,000 was one of the items of value found when gardai raided a flat where a Dutch-Arab criminal due to be extradited next month was living in Dublin.

The flat had been rented by a senior figure in the Kinahan gang, which has close links to one of two major rival gangs in Amsterdam that, like the Kinahans and Hutches, are involved in a blood feud over drugs routes and distribution.

Gardai were surprised when they raided the flat where criminal Naoufal Fassih (36) was living in central Dublin in April last year and found an Aladdin's cave of designer goods.

Along with €12,825 and £300 in cash, they also found a Rolex watch worth €8,350, another Rolex valued at €35,000 and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak limited edition Michael Schumacher watch. Gardai said this Piguet is probably worth around €40,000 to €50,000.

The obese Morocco-born criminal, whose nickname is "Buik" - Dutch for "belly" - was also wearing €800 designer runners.

Fassih had fake Belgian and Dutch passports and, along with a small amount of cannabis, this was sufficient for gardai to detain him and seek his extradition to Holland. He has been in Cloverhill Prison, in Dublin, since his arrest last April.

He was sentenced last month to a month in prison over the passport offences and will be deported to Holland in coming weeks, once arrangements are in place with the Dutch authorities.

Fassih has 12 previous convictions including two counts of unauthorised use of weapons, ammunition and explosives, as well as extortion and attempted extortion and embezzlement.

He is linked to a Dutch gang that is known to have close links to the Kinahan gang. And, like the Kinahans, their Dutch associates are involved in a bloody feud with their rivals, who have now sided with the Hutches as part of their fightback.

Both gangs in Amsterdam are trying to outgun each other and the Kinahan associates are even engaging in Isil-style terror tactics against their rivals - who are linked to the Hutches.

The Kinahan-associated gang was blamed for the gruesome murder of a 23-year-old rival last March. The headless corpse of Nabil Amzieb was found in a burning car in an Amsterdam suburb. The following day his head was left on a pavement outside a restaurant used by the rival gang members.

Commenting on the Dublin gang links to their counterparts in Amsterdam, one Dublin detective said the two cities should be "twinned" because of their near-identical drugs gang feuds and the close mutual "business" links between the main drugs gangs. The Hutch faction in Dublin is closely associated with an Amsterdam gang, which grew out of a Hells Angel motorcycle gang in the 1980s and which now runs a massive drugs operation alongside North African gangs involved in cannabis and cocaine.

This gang was blamed for the murder in December of Martin Kok (49), the criminal-turned-journalist who was gunned down as he arrived at a brothel 21km south-west of Amsterdam.

Kok served 15 years in jail for manslaughter and extortion, but became an avid crime blogger on his release and became well known for his detailed exposes of the Dutch crime gangs. Several threats were made to his life.

The gang suspected to have murdered Kok, who had become a nationally recognised figure because of his crime reporting, has close links with the Hutch gang in Dublin. Rumours spread in Holland that Hutch gang members were hired to carry out the assassination when Kok made his regular Saturday night visit to the sex club in Laren.

Like the Dublin gang feud, the Amsterdam feuding is also claiming innocent, as well as gang member, lives.

The Kinahan associates were responsible for the double murders of Youssef Lkhorf (28) and Said el Yazidi (21) during a gunfight in December 2012. Fassih was formally accused of involvement in the shooting but was never convicted of any offence.

Fassih was also named as a close associate of Dutch crime boss Gwenette Martha, who was assassinated in Amsterdam in May 2014. Martha was wearing a bulletproof vest, but was hit multiple times in the head and lower body in an attack by gunmen with two AK47 rifles. It is believed this may have inspired the Hutch attack in The Regency Hotel during which two AK47 rifles were used.

The "Mocro-mafia", as the Kinahan associates are known, were also responsible for shooting dead Luana Luz Xavier (34), the girlfriend of an Amsterdam criminal involved in the feud, in front of her daughter and son in December 2014. In June 2014, the gang murdered innocent custom services manager Stefan Eggermont (30) in mistake for a rival gang member.

Just as in Dublin, both feuding factions in Holland are headed by figures known for their use of extreme violence. The Kinahan associates are notorious for both gang-related and "domestic" violence, with a senior figure currently serving a life term for the murder of his former wife and their two young children, who were stabbed and strangled to death.

Underlying the gang activities in both cities is the massive profitability of the drugs trade. Cannabis is bought in bulk by the North African mafias, which impose a murderous regime in countries such as Morocco and Algeria to keep production prices as low as possible.

Farmers growing cannabis are paid less than €20 a kilo for the drug, which has a street retail value of €20 a gram - a near-1,000pc profit margin. Cocaine cartels in South America and Mexico keep entire farming communities enslaved to ensure low production costs. Thousands are murdered by the producer cartels every year.

The mass killings of farmers in Mexico who tried to rebel against the cartel regimes led to the first US state legislatures, such as Colorado, Alaska and Washington State, legalising the sale of cannabis for recreational as well as medical use.

Read more: 'No evidence that Kinahan cartel has mole in gardai', says Tanaiste

Read more: 'You will not win'–Justice Minister's message to Kinahan and Hutch gangs on Regency anniversary

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