Sunday 17 February 2019

Kinahan crime gang member can't explain to CAB how he bought €150k Dublin house in cash, even though he is unemployed, High Court told

Stock image
Stock image

Tim Healy

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to sell a number of valuable assets it has seized - including luxury cars, property and jewellery - which it says are linked to the Kinahan crime gang, the High Court heard.

The application is against a number of individuals who CAB says are associates of Liam Byrne, head of a gang originating from the Crumlin/Drimnagh area of Dublin which is central to the Kinahan-Hutch feud which has resulted in ten murders. 

Mr Byrne is a "trusted lieutenant" of Daniel Kinahan, son of Kinahan crime gang boss Christy, who is now living in Dubai, the court heard. 

Lawyers for Byrne, his partner Simone McEnroe, and his close associate Sean McGovern, told the court on Tuesday that all three that they would not be participating in the proceedings in any substantive way.

Daniel Kinahan and (inset) Liam Byrne
Daniel Kinahan and (inset) Liam Byrne

In relation to a house in Crumlin owned by Sean McGovern - who was injured in the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016 when Liam Byrne's brother David was shot dead - counsel said he has provided no explanation as to how he acquire it mortgage free even though he is unemployed.

He paid some €150,000 in cash for the house which was routed from a trust company in Mauritius to a bank here. Mr McGovern had also claimed ownership of a Rolex watch and €10,000 in cash.

Last year, the court rejected applications for free legal aid on behalf of McGovern and a number of other people who claimed ownership of the property which originally included some 29 vehicles, a motorcycle, houses in Crumlin and Clondalkin, jewellery and cash. 

Separate proceedings in relation to a house in Crumlin, which Byrne's sister Maria says she owns and which CAB says also comes from the proceeds of crime, were adjourned.

CAB says the associates of Mr Byrne act as a network and front for him. Their wealthy lifestyles are not in keeping with legitimate sources of income. 

They are involved with the Christy Kinahan gang which is behind an international drugs and firearms trafficking business estimated to be worth a billion Euro, Remy Farrell SC, for CAB said

Daniel Kinahan
Daniel Kinahan

Ms Justice Carmel Stewart reserved her decision after hearing only from Mr Farrell.  There was no opposition on behalf of any of the respondents to the application to sell the seized assets under proceeds of crime legislation.

Mr Farrell said a company called "LS Active" car sales, which was originally a registered firm but is now a sole trader business in Mr Byrne's name, is simply a means to allow Byrne and his associates to launder the substantial sums that came from drug dealing.  The cars were used as "a currency to transfer wealth", he said. 

"Central to it is LS Active car sales and the irony is that whatever else is said about it, it was not in any sense active", Mr Farrell said.

There is very little buying and selling but the business maintained high-end vehicles which "were handed out to people involved in criminality presumably for the purpose of payment", counsel said.

The vehicles are normally registered in the names of people who do not have use of them but when the drivers are stopped by gardai, the explanation usually is that they (drivers) have them on a "sale and return" basis to another garage.

CCTV footage of LS Active over a 29-day period showed almost "no activity consistent with car dealership", counsel said. "Presumably, the business is used more as a clubhouse for those involved", he said.

The court will be satisfied from an analysis of the business that it is simply incapable of continuing. A striking aspect of it was that this business was used to fund other activities including that it spends, even though it is involved in car sales, "so much" on international travel, counsel said.

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