The 2010 operation against Kinahan. / SUR

Four-year prison sentence sought against alleged Irish mafia leader Christopher Kinahan

The Public Prosecutor's Office in Malaga accuses him of crimes for attempting to travel on a false passport in 2010


Twelve years after he tried to fly to Brazil with an alleged false passport, the Malaga Public Prosecutor's Office is asking the father of the Kinahans - the family linked to the Irish mafia - to be sentenced to four years in prison for a double offence of falsification of a public document.

The indictment, to which SUR has had access, is based on a 2010 prosecution document. At that time, a court in Estepona was in charge of leading the largest international operation to date against the Irish mafia, which, according to the investigation, had connections in at least twenty countries around the world. Thirty-one arrests were made and almost a hundred luxury properties were seized.

As this newspaper reported at the time, the investigation led to a simultaneous raid in three countries, coordinated by Europol. On the Costa del Sol, 17 arrests were made and searches were carried out in Marbella, Estepona, Fuengirola and Mijas. The remaining arrests were made in the United Kingdom, with eleven arrests, and Ireland, with three more detentions. In total, 122 searches were carried out in homes, premises, law firms and establishments.

The Kinahan gang, dismantled at the time, was, according to Europol, allegedly linked to more than twenty crimes committed in different countries. It was the investigation into one of these murders that led to 'Operation Shovel' after Patrick D., a 28-year-old Irish national, whom the police linked to organised crime, was shot dead in February 2008 in Estepona.

Despite the dismantling of the Kinahan structure and the arrest of the father of the family, Christopher Kinahan was eventually released on the grounds that there was no evidence of his links to drugs and arms trafficking. He is being prosecuted purely on the grounds of allegedly falsifying a passport for attempted travel.

Along with Kinahan, the Prosecutor's Office is also seeking sentences for other people related to the case, with jail terms ranging from two to almost three years for the offence of falsification of public documents and for illegal possession of weapons.

This year's operation

This operation is different from the one carried out in September of this year. That began in January 2021 when the Guardia Civil found almost 300 kilos of cocaine hidden in a vehicle. Subsequently, half a million euros were found in a house search. Everything indicated that the Costa del Sol-based group leader was collecting cash from criminal operations in Spain and delivering them to groups in other countries, using the untraceable 'hawala' system. This led investigators to believe that the suspect was the banker for the Kinahan clan. Alarm bells went off because everything seemed to be connected.

A premium vodka brand linked to the detained suspect led investigators to probe whether the drinks company, located in Malaga, was used for laundering money. The well-connected suspect moved in celebrity circles on the Costa del Sol and had a wellness in centre in Mijas.

The Guardia Civil dismantled this criminal organisation and reported that "they could have laundered more than 200,000,000 euros through the 'hawala' method with a daily capacity of up to 350,000 euros".