Scots boxing fight nights linked to Kinahan Irish organized crime family


A series of boxing shows taking place across Scotland have links to an international crime gang with a $5million bounty on their arrest.

Members of the Dubai-based Irish family the Kinahans are wanted by US authorities over crimes including murder, firearms and drug trafficking.

But the Sunday Mail can reveal the criminal cartel are linked to a Scottish boxing promotions firm which has hosted showpiece events in Glasgow.

It has led to calls for the police and Scottish Government to take tougher action on sporting events with links to criminals.

Kynoch Boxing Promotions and Management was behind a boxing event in Glasgow last Friday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and is involved in another this weekend at the Hydro.

Reputed gangster Daniel Kinahan (right) with boxer Tyson Fury
Reputed gangster Daniel Kinahan (right) with boxer Tyson Fury

The firm is run by 35-year-old corporate-lawyer-turned-boxing-promoter Sam Kynoch, who has links to Daniel Kinahan, 44, head of the Kinahan family.

In 2015, Kynoch set up a gym in Glasgow called MGM Scotland, described as the “sister” gym of MGM Marbella in Spain – founded by Kinahan in 2012.

Two years later, MGM was rebranded as MTK Global and saw Kynoch appointed as group managing director by Kinahan.

In 2018, the Scot launched his own boxing promotions firm which works with stars in the sport including top Scottish female boxer Hannah Rankin.

Kynoch was unable to be contacted at his gym in Tradeston, Glasgow, and did not respond to requests for comment.

There is no suggestion that the former lawyer, who moved into boxing promotion full-time in 2013, is involved in crime.

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Tory MSP Russell Findlay says Scotland is too lenient on gangs
Tory MSP Russell Findlay says Scotland is too lenient on gangs

MTK Global said Daniel Kinahan had stopped working with them in 2017 and said in a statement that “despite repeated reassurances in this regard, unfounded allegations about his ongoing association with us and our fighters persist”.

The firm said leading promoters had stopped working with them, which has prompted MTK to “cease operations”.

The Kinahans are also linked to another fight night, which took place in Dundee’s Caird Hall last Saturday.

That was run by a global firm called Probellum which promotes a number of boxers connected with MTK Global.

It said it had looked at the US allegations against Daniel Kinahan and said “we will not have any business relationship or communication with him whatsoever”.

In 2016, Kinahan was targeted by a gunman who burst into a Dublin hotel where a boxing event was taking place.

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He fled but an associate was shot dead.

Last night, Scottish Tories’ shadow community safety minister Russell Findlay said: “Over recent years it has become increasingly difficult for the Kinahans to stage shows in Ireland because the authorities created such a hostile environment but also because they would likely have become targets of extreme violence.

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“It is therefore repugnant that Scotland seems to be such a soft touch. Clear links can be drawn between the Kinahan cartel and those staging these events in Glasgow and Dundee, two cities that continue to be devastated by drugs.”

Ex-police chief Graeme Pearson says gangs must be cracked down on
Ex-police chief Graeme Pearson says gangs must be cracked down on

Findlay said he has raised the Kinahans’ links to Scots boxing shows with the National Crime Agency and police.

He added: “The NCA played a central role in the US-led sanctions and I’m confident they will continue working with international law enforcement partners to follow the global money trail and ensure Scotland is not a safe haven.

“The Kinahan footprint in Scotland and connections with Scottish drug dealers run so deep that some people regard them as an Irish-Scottish cartel.

“As Europe’s drugs death capital, it’s time the Scottish Government woke up to the threat and took it as seriously as the Irish authorities do.”

The Scottish Government said that it could not comment but insisted that it was committed to tackling organized crime.

A spokeswoman said: “There is no power of sanction in Scotland, where the key tools available are criminal investigation, prosecution and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

“Extra territorial/international sanctions are a matter for the UK Government.”

She said a Serious Organized Crime Taskforce has been set up.

Police Scotland were unable to comment.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel was asked about the boxing event which took place in the hotel on Friday.

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A spokeswoman said: “We are unable to comment on bookings due to confidentiality reasons.”

A report released on Friday by Europol and the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction said the Kinahan cartel carried out “at least 20” murders across Europe and used specialized crime cells to kill rivals.

Last month the US Government sanctioned Daniel Kinahan, his brother Christopher Jnr, 41, and their father Christy Snr, 65.

A reward of $5million has been offered for information leading to their arrests.

Events have been hosted at Glasgow's Crowne Plaza Hotel
Events have been hosted at Glasgow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel

Former police chief and Labor MSP Graeme Pearson welcomed calls to crack down on links between boxing and organized crime.

He says that criminals in Scotland since the days of crime godfather Arthur Thompson snr in the 1960s have used boxing as a means of infiltrating legitimate businesses and laundering money.

He said: “What I have seen in the past at boxing events is the most unusual people sitting as guests at tables of criminals.

“It is quite evident that those events are used to legitimize themselves as businessmen but also make links for criminal activities in the future.”

Pearson is a retired head of the former Scottish Drug and Crime Enforcement Agency and former justice spokesman in the Scottish Parliament.

He added: “That whole hospitality environment can be abused by organized crime.

“It gives them legitimate access for illegitimate reasons.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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