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Pressure mounts on Kinahan cartel as EU puts UAE on money laundering ‘blacklist’

Pressure mounts on Kinahan cartel as EU puts UAE on money laundering ‘blacklist’

The European Commission has added the Gulf state to its list of countries at high risk for money laundering and terrorism financing.

The move was announced by EU Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness, who said the bloc was targeting countries with “deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing frameworks”.

The rules impose strict restrictions on any financial transactions between individuals or businesses in the Middle Eastern country and the EU.

The move comes after months of political pressure to stop criminals such as Christopher Kinahan and his sons Daniel and Christie Jr. from using the tax haven.

The extent of Kinahans’ business dealings in the desert kingdom was laid bare when it was announced that Kinahans was sanctioned by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Many companies based in luxury office suites in Dubai are listed as fronts for international drug-trafficking operations.

Transparency International wrote to the European Commission last September urging tighter controls on financial transactions with the UAE.

“If criminals could simply move their wealth to other jurisdictions such as the UAE, the EU’s ability to fight money laundering would be significantly weakened,” Transparency International said.

The presence of Russian oligarchs in the UAE in an attempt to hide their assets from EU and US sanctions has also fueled a political movement to tighten local financial controls.

When the sanctions were announced last April, DEA Special Operations Special Agent Wendy Woolock said the Kinahans were operating in Dubai with apparent impunity.

“For years, they have used intimidation, influence and money to destroy towns and cities by dumping drugs on the streets,” she said.

“They prey on and profit from the addicted vulnerable while enjoying a luxurious lifestyle in Dubai.”

Further revelations in 2022 showed how Kinahan Sr posed as an airline broker and consultant in an audacious bid to build an airline that would transport cocaine from Africa to the EU border.

Through a series of front companies, he tried to buy used planes from the Egyptian military and also operated an air ambulance service.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is continuing its efforts to catch the Kinahans, with a $5 million reward on offer each.

this sunday worldIt was previously revealed that a US court may already have a sealed indictment outlining criminal charges against the Kinahans.

While the Kinahan family’s talent for money laundering may have led them into terrorism financing, they were also linked to one of the largest cocaine seizures in U.S. history.

Eight people have been jailed so far — the entire crew of the MSC Gayane, a large cargo ship that docked in Philadelphia en route to Europe in 2019. After the drugs were loaded onto the ship, the $1.5 billion worth of cargo was stashed aboard the ship off the coast of Peru.


The consignment is believed to have been organized by a supercartel that included the Kinahans as well as Balkan gangster Edin Gacanin, Camorra boss Raffaele Imperiale and Dutch-Moroccan criminal Ridouan Taghi.

New details of a U.S. plot against shipping cocaine shipments to Europe suggest vast resources have been devoted to fighting criminal syndicates.

according to Bloomberg BusinessweekU.S. and European authorities are already tracking the methods used by Balkan thugs to plant insiders among the crews of large container ships.

According to court records, the boat encountered at least six speedboats as it sailed south off the coast of Peru.

The smugglers did the same when the MSC Gayane returned north through the Panama Canal to the United States.

When it reached the bay near Philadelphia, the Americans were waiting. Three patrol boats and a helicopter approached the ship, and a team of law enforcement officers climbed aboard.

The crew were rounded up and swabbed for cocaine, and searches of the containers above decks immediately began.

When the ship docked, 100 more agents were waiting, so it was decided to unload all 4,000 containers on board.

In total, 20 tonnes of cocaine in the form of 15,000 bricks were found in seven of the containers.

While the crew members involved have all been convicted, the investigation is ongoing and last October, former heavyweight boxer Goran Gogic was arrested and charged in connection with the case.

The 43-year-old Montenegrin fighter was arrested at Miami International Airport on October 31.

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