Plans by an Irish drug lord, Christy Kinahan Snr, to start a new life Zimbabwe were blocked recently when he was reportedly denied residency after buying properties, with authorities arguing he was not a suitable person to live in the country.
According to media reports, Kinahan had tried to establish a home and a business hub in Zimbabwe, but was forced to abandon his plans. According to the Sunday World, the ‘Dapper Don’ purchased luxury properties in Harare amid plans to relocate his family here from the United Arab Emirates.
Kinahan, along with his partner Nessy Yildirim, planned to base themselves in Harare, where they had already chosen and bought properties. Kinahan hoped to go from Irish Mafia boss to a global cocaine powerbroker, becoming the equal of Colombians who control the production and price of the drug.
However, a deal to buy a fleet of secondhand military aircraft from the Egyptian Air Force went sour last year and US action against Kinahan and his sons Daniel and Christopher Jnr put paid to the African dream.
Reporters from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) discovered that Kinahan posed as a humanitarian aviation consultant and, with Yildrim’s help, tried to buy a fleet of planes known for short take-off and landing capabilities.
In July, the Sunday World revealed how the Kinahan gang were moving cocaine across Africa in air ambulances.
It emerged how the cartel had bought off officials for use of landing strips and took control of the key transport route to Europe, making the Irish gang second only in importance to the Colombian cartels. The Irish mafia had effectively taken control of Africa’s lucrative “cocaine corridor” — one of the main routes for importing drugs into Europe.
After the drugs landed in the southern part of Africa, the Kinahan gang would use air ambulances to move the cocaine through the continent to ports where it could be shipped into Europe.
The ICIJ have also published details of how Kinahan attempted to pull off a series of multi-million-euro aviation deals while posing as a legitimate broker.
According to the leaked documents, a Dubai company linked to Kinahan tried to buy as many as nine used de Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalos from the Egyptian air force in 2020.
It is claimed he also attempted to do lucrative deals in Africa and Latin America and even explored buying an Antonov An-26 turboprop in Venezuela.
Emails also showed Kinahan pushing for the formation of a company in Singapore so that it could negotiate the Egyptian deal. In late 2019, Kinahan explained in an email that he wanted the company website to “create a smoke and mirrors illusion that we are bigger and better than a mere start-up company”.
ICIJ also revealed how Kinahan attended an aviation conference in 2019 at the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el Sheikh.
The gathering was hosted by the World Food Programme and the now former Egyptian minister of civil aviation, Lt Gen Younis el-Masri. Shortly after the conference, the Dubai aviation company linked to Kinahan made inquiries about buying aircraft from the Egyptian military.
A company representative wrote to Egyptian defence attaché in Abu Dhabi, Brigadier Hisham Nabil Monir, about buying up to nine DHC Buffalo military transport planes for as much as US$8 million.
In March 2020, the attaché sent the company technical information related to the Buffalo and gave “the Egyptian Air Force’s approval” for a field inspection at the Almaza Air Force base, in Cairo.
According to the ICIJ, company representatives kept Kinahan, who used the name ‘CV DXB’, updated in text messages.
However, the deal fell through and screenshots from a WhatsApp conversation in September 2021 show Kinahan notifying his team that the deal was off. The ICIJ write: “He declared that ‘the Buffalo deal is now officially closed.’
Kinahan has had a complex private life. It is understood that he and his first wife, Jean, had two children but that the Godfather has at least eight children with four different women, including a number of adult offspring living in Ireland.
Kinahan married Jean Boylan, the mother of Daniel and Christopher Jnr, when he was addicted to heroin and starting out in a life of crime. He later separated from her but between spates in prison often had his sons living with him in Tallaght.
He had another relationship with a south Dublin woman and had a child with her, as well as relationships with two others, each producing a child, before having a son and a daughter, with another Irish woman before he left first for the UK and later Europe. There he married his second wife, Dutch native Jacqueline Kallenbach, who died earlier this year after a short illness.