Lanarkshire vodka firm linked to Irish drug cartel may be linked to Scottish crime gangs

An Irish drug cartel sanctioned by the US government last week is working in partnership with the fearsome Lyons gang in Scotland, an MSP has claimed.

Speaking at Holyrood on Tuesday, Russell Findlay also said he believed Scottish football was “tainted by drug money” in the same way as the world of professional boxing.

It comes as Irish, US and UK law enforcement have launched a coordinated action against the Kinahan cartel – with a reward of up to $5million offered for information against its three most prominent members.

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Daniel Kinahan, 44, has previously been named by Irish courts as the leader of one of Europe’s most prominent drug gangs – but he has never been convicted of a crime.

He previously worked as an advisor to boxer Tyson Fury and is a co-founder of MTK Global which has represented several well-known fighters.

Findlay, the Scottish Conservatives’ community safety spokesman, said it was “widely known” that the Kinahans were working in partnership with the Glasgow-based Lyons crime family.

The Morrisseys during their football sponsorship launch for Hamilton

He said: “One member of the Kinahan gang to be sanctioned is John Morrissey with Glasgow-based vodka company Nero Drinks.

“But the Kinahans aren’t interested in flogging vodka – their real business is cocaine and heroin.

“It is well known that this cartel is in partnership with the Scottish gang of Lyons, making huge profits by killing Scots.

“The SNP government has turned its back on the UK government’s Project Adder which aims to tackle drug trafficking with tougher police enforcement.

“Given these international sanctions, will the Cabinet Secretary reverse this decision?”

Last week, Nero Drinks – whose head office is listed as a £440,000 house on a residential street in the village of Stepps – was named a member of KTCO’s network of business interests by US law enforcement who have compared the crime clan to terrorist groups and the Italian mafia.

John and Nicola Morrissey
John and Nicola Morrissey

And we told you earlier this week how Nero, run by mum Nicola Morrissey and her ‘enforcer’ husband John, Nero Drinks was awarded up to £10,000 under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Keith Brown, the SNP justice minister, hit back: “I am sorry that Mr Findlay has adopted his usual mode of attacking the SNP so quickly.

“I think there’s a very serious problem behind this – which is the pervasive influence of organized crime.

“I think Police Scotland, in conjunction with other agencies, works very effectively to tackle not only organized crime but also drug gangs.”

Findlay replied: “Reporters in Ireland and elsewhere have taken great personal risk to reveal how the Kinahan Cartel’s dirty money has seeped into boxing.

“Tyson Fury and Scottish world champion Josh Taylor are among those who will be represented by Daniel Kinahan.

“But I would argue that Scottish football is also tainted by drug money.

“Last year the Scottish Government released a video warning young gamers of the risk of being targeted by organized criminals posing as advisers.

“Can the Cabinet Secretary tell us what concrete action has been taken against dirty money in boxing and football in the 12 months since this video was released?”

Brown replied: “I mentioned how closely we work with Police Scotland and others – including the SFA – on these issues.

“It is also worth saying that when it comes to the action that is taken – whether against the gangs that Russell Findlay mentioned, or more generally against organized crime – it is often not the best line of argument. conduct to expose exactly what you do as you do.

“He will know, I’m sure, that the more you telegraph what you intend to do, the harder it will be – either to find the evidence or the proceeds of crime that flow from these activities.”

The US Treasury Department describes the Kinahan cartel as one of the most dangerous in the world, comparable to criminal organizations like the Italian Camorra, Mexican Los Zetas and Japanese Yakuza.

According to Gardaí Commissioner Drew Harris, the gang is estimated to have earned more than €1 billion (£836,590,000) worldwide from its activities.

Tyson Fury has claimed Daniel Kinahan’s alleged criminal empire is “none of that”, although he has previously praised the Irishman for helping him in his career.

Fury is days away from defending his world heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte at Wembley, but the build-up has been dominated by the US government’s sanction against Kinahan.

Fury promoter Bob Arum admitted last week that he paid Kinahan up to $2 million for each of Fury’s last four fights, but insists he was not involved in the clash between the Briton and Whyte.

And when asked about the latest developments, Fury told Ring Magazine, “It’s none of my business, and I don’t get involved in other people’s business.”

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