Sport warned about involvement with Kinahan


Daniel Kinahan, originally from Ireland, moved to Dubai in 2016

The world of sport has been warned over its involvement with the Kinahan organised crime group, which has been hit with worldwide financial sanctions.

Among those sanctioned is Daniel Kinahan – a well-known figure in boxing circles who has worked with world champions Tyson Fury and Josh Taylor.

Garda (Irish police) commissioner Drew Harris said it was “now absolutely explicit” that “if you deal with” the individuals or businesses sanctioned then “you are involved in a criminal network”.

There are no allegations of wrongdoing against any boxers who have worked with Kinahan.

The Irish Kinahan cartel emerged in Dublin in the 1990s, and Irish, American and British law enforcement have launched coordinated action against what the US says is one of the world’s largest crime groups.

A reward of up to $5m (£3.84m) has been offered by the US for information on the three most senior members. In total, seven members and three associated businesses are targeted.

“On the business of sport, today we have made it very clear through this announcement who and what exactly the Kinahan organised crime group is,” said Harris.

“Individuals, specific individuals, have been sanctioned. It’s then for businesses to make a decision, considering the probity of their own business, the probity of all the business that comes from sport, and also then their fans, and even just then the reputation of a sport and whether they should carry on in any business dealings with any of these sanctioned individuals. In fact then, in the US that is in fact prohibited.”

Assistant commissioner John O’Driscoll condemned Kinahan’s standing in boxing, telling reporters at a news conference in Dublin his influence was “destroying or attempting to destroy a sport that is so important to inner city communities”.

Kinahan is a co-founder of the MTK Global agency, which represents a number of boxing’s leading fighters, including Fury. Kinahan says he cut ties with the company in 2017.

While Kinahan says he is no longer associated with the agency, last year Fury expressly thanked him for organising a high-profile bout with then world champion Anthony Joshua, which later fell through.

Just weeks ago, Fury was photographed in Dubai with Kinahan.

Kinahan is also understood to have been an adviser to Scotland’s world boxing champion Taylor, who is also represented by MTK Global.

Taylor once described Kinahan as a “great adviser” who is doing great things for the sport of boxing.

The BBC has contacted Fury’s promoters, Top Rank, and Taylor and his team for comment.

Despite Kinahan’s well-known links to the drug trade, boxing chiefs have defended his involvement with the sport.

Last month, World Boxing Council (WBC) president Mauricio Sulaiman offered his “full backing” to the Irishman’s continued involvement after a meeting in Dubai. The BBC has contacted the WBC for comment.

One of the businesses sanctioned by the US is Hoopoe Sports, a sports management company for combat sports. Its website lists a number of prominent boxers as clients.

Another boxing company, Probellum, has denied any involvement with Kinahan.

After a BBC investigation revealed his continued presence in the sport last year, Kinahan insisted allegations of criminality are part of a “campaign” against him.

“It is absolutely a matter for sport and leaders of sport and the participants in that to take a look at who they are doing business with and whether they are comfortable with that and take the right steps,” said National Crime Agency deputy director of investigations Matthew Horne.

“That is an appropriate matter for the sporting community to address.”

Horne added that sporting bodies need to “take great care” and ensure that Kinahan no longer has any ties to any organisations they do business with.

“If there is a relationship with Daniel Kinahan then clearly he is sanctioned and that has implications for other organisations,” he told BBC Sport.

“But it really will be a matter for sport and sport organisations to make those assessments based on what we have released today working with our partners internationally.”



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