Kinahan mobster Byrne a no-show as CAB bid to sell off cars and houses
The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) wants to sell a number of valuable assets it has seized - including luxury cars, property and jewellery - which it says are linked to the Kinahan crime gang, the High Court has heard.
The application is against a number of individuals who the CAB says are associates of Liam Byrne, head of a gang originating from the Crumlin/Drimnagh area which is central to the Kinahan-Hutch feud.
Byrne was a "trusted lieutenant" of Daniel Kinahan, son of Kinahan crime gang boss Christy, who was now living in Dubai, the court heard.
Lawyers for Byrne, his partner Simoan McEnroe and his close associate Sean McGovern yesterday told the court that all three would not be participating in any substantive way.
Last year, the court rejected applications for free legal aid on behalf of McGovern and a number of other people who claimed ownership of the property, which originally included some 29 vehicles, a motorcycle, houses in Crumlin and Clondalkin, jewellery and cash.
Separate proceedings over a house in Crumlin, which Byrne's sister Maria says she owns, were adjourned.
The CAB says the associates of Byrne act as a network and front for him, and their wealthy lifestyles are not in keeping with legitimate sources of income.
They are involved with the Kinahan gang which is behind an international drugs and firearms trafficking business estimated to be worth €1bn, Remy Farrell SC, for the CAB, said.
Ms Justice Carmel Stewart reserved her decision after hearing only from Mr Farrell.
There was no opposition on behalf of any of the respondents to the application to sell the seized assets under proceeds of crime legislation.
Mr Farrell said a company called 'LS Active' car sales, which was now a sole trader business in Byrne's name, was simply a means to allow him and his associates to launder money from drug dealing.
The cars were used as "a currency to transfer wealth", he said.
"Central to it is LS Active car sales and the irony is that whatever else is said about it, it was not in any sense active," Mr Farrell added.
There was very little buying and selling but the business maintained high-end vehicles which "were handed out to people involved in criminality presumably for the purpose of payment", counsel said.
The vehicles were normally registered in the names of people who did not have use of them but when the drivers were stopped by gardai, the explanation usually was that they had them on a "sale and return" basis to another garage.
CCTV of LS Active over a 29-day period showed almost "no activity consistent with car dealership", counsel said.
"Presumably, the business is used more as a clubhouse for those involved," he added.
The court would be satisfied from an analysis of the business that it was simply incapable of continuing, Mr Farrell said.
A striking aspect was that this business was used to fund other activities, spending "so much" on international travel even though it was involved in car sales, he added.
In relation to a house in Crumlin owned by McGovern - who was injured in the Regency Hotel shooting in 2016 when Liam Byrne's brother David was shot dead - counsel said he had provided no explanation as to how he acquired it mortgage-free even though he was unemployed.
He paid some €150,000 in cash for the house which was routed from a trust company in Mauritius to a bank here.
Mr McGovern had also claimed ownership of a Rolex watch and €10,000 in cash.