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My dad, Tom, is one of the most charming men you'll ever meet. The love of my mom's life. But for 52 years, he was also something else, a wanted fugitive. From Neonhum Media and Sony Music Entertainment, listen to Smokscreen, my fugitive dad. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts to binge all episodes now or listen weekly wherever you get your podcasts.


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Fm/plus. Previously on Hot Money. I started looking into a murder in a small Dutch town, the murder of a man who was living a secret life on the run from the Iranian regime. And it's taken me to Ireland to a safe house owned by the Kinnehans, the family at the heart of Europe's most powerful cocaine cartel. But who are the Kinnahans? And why would drug traffickers be connected to what looks like a political assassination? This isn't an easy story to report, because for obvious reasons, I can't just call up the main characters. Crime bosses, they don't usually take calls from journalists. Instead, I need to find the people who are trying to bring them down.


Heroin took everyone by surprise. It took the criminals by surprise. It took the Angardish, the O'Connor, the Irish police force, took them by complete surprise.


In 1977, Michael O'Sullivan had just joined the Irish police force. He's in his early 20s, and he's grown a handlebar mustache and got himself a leather jacket. He looks a bit like Charles Bronson, but more approachable, a bit friendlier. As a young detective, he soon finds himself on the front line of policing a new type of problem because tons of cheap heroine is flooding into Europe, including Dublin.


This was a new ball game. These were drug dealers on the streets, streetwise in what we would call flat complexes in rundown areas where they would have lookouts and they're like fortresses. The problem was getting worse and worse. It wouldn't be uncommon to have an entire family, four or five kids all on drugs.


Michael can tell that the usual methods of policing, the old ways, they're just not going to work. So he comes up with a radical idea.


I went to my superiors and suggested to them that, look, people could go in and buy the drugs with a view to catching the drug dealer. I basically suggested that I could do it. I was from a similar background. I felt I could easily blend in.


What Michael is talking about here is an undercover sting. And in 1980s Ireland, in the police, that's just not really the done thing.


My boss has told me it was a crazy idea. It was illegal. If I didn't get myself arrested or brought before the courts, I'd bring the police force into discredit. It couldn't be done, and it wasn't to be done.


Michael listens to his bosses, weighs up their advice, and he ignores it. The way he tells the story of this first sting, it sounds just like a scene from a movie. He's already chosen a dealer, a dealer he's been watching for a while. And one day when he's out on patrol, he decides to split off from his colleagues and he goes out alone without telling them where he's heading.


I went into a flat complex and knocked on the door and a guy came out. This big guy stood at the door and as I began to ask him for drugs, he produced it in his hand. I was probably caught by surprise. I didn't really realize I didn't think it would work that fast. I took a deep breath and snatched drugs from his hand and produced my ID card at the same time. He looked at me in disbelief. He thought I was a junkie trying to rob him.


It takes a second, but the man notices Michael's police ID and then he realizes what's really going on.


At this stage, he assumed that I'd back up, but what he didn't realize was the backup had no idea where I was. So he decided cut his losses and he ran back into his flat and I followed him. On the way, he cut some drugs that were on a table and threw them into a lighting fire.


Michael knows he needs the drugs as evidence because that's the whole point of the sting. So he stops. The heroin is wrapped in this plastic and it's starting to melt. Michael reaches his hand into the fire and pulls it out. At the same time, the dealer is still desperately trying to find a way out of.


The flat. He opened a back window of the ground floor flat, and as he was halfway out at it, I was holding onto his leg. Here's Michael.


One hand covered in melted plastic, the other hand gripping the leg of a heroin dealer who's dangling out of a ground floor window and no one knows where he is. He's got back up, but they've lost him. A passing.


Unit of the police who were trying to look for me saw him hanging out the window and realized where I was. It came down to that. Had he not gone out the window, things could have gone quite badly. It was a crazy thing to do. Looking back in it, I wouldn't advise anyone to do it. But you know, you're young and impulsive and nobody planned for it to go that way. I was admonished by my bosses and told it was, Herbrain, don't do it again.


But Michael's risky move pays off. It takes a while, but eventually, his bosses realize that he's onto something. Soon enough, he finds himself coming up against a new force in Irish organized crime. It's a family that will transform the drugs business, make their fortune, and end up some of the world's most wanted men. The family at the heart of the Dubai Super Cartel. I'm Miles Johnson, and from the Financial Times and Pushkin Industries. This is Hot Money, season two. The New Narcos. Episode two, Cocaine CEO. I'm trying to understand how a group of European drug traffickers became some of the world's most successful criminal entrepreneurs, because their story is the story of a revolution, a revolution that swept across Europe's criminal economy. Michael, he's been following all of this from the start. The Kinnahans have been in his sight since his early days on the streets of Dublin, and it started with Christopher Kinnahan, better known as Christy, or the Dappaudon.


Myself and Chris Kinnaghan, I suppose, started working in drugs around the same time, and our careers have gone in tandem. I was on one side of the fence and he's on the other.


Michael first comes across Christy in the mid-80s. He's at the height of Dublin's heroine problems.


I was aware that there was somebody behind the distribution network within Dublin. The name Christy Kinnaghan came up. I had never heard of him. I had made some inquiries and I'd heard that he was what is best described as a fraudster, and he would go around bouncing checks. He could talk to talk. He wasn't a real criminal. He was a suave a guy.


Michael starts looking into Christy Kinnaghan, and he learns that he grew up in a middle-class family in Dublin. He went to the same school that the writer James Joyce had attended, 70 years earlier. When he was a kid, Christy's family lived in the UK for a bit, and he sometimes puts on an English accent. He's also acquired some expensive tastes, sports cars, nice clothes, and luxury apartments. As Michael watches him, he can tell it's not just bounce checks covering Christy's extravagant lifestyle. It's drug money. And Christy, he seems to have come up with a new distribution model, one that's different from the other heroine dealers.


He had rented a luxury apartment away from all the grottie streets and drug dealing, and was using it as the nerve center. He was paranoid, so he'd only trust himself, and he reckoned he was in such a safe place and that he was unknown that he could hold the drugs and maybe get one or two trusted people to take them from him and they will go and cut it and distribute it.


The location of Christy's base of operations is so unlikely that Michael actually doubts it at first. But then he sees Christy arriving at the block of flats.


Fortunately for us, he drove a Flash Red sports car.


And it's confirmed. It's 1986 and Michael's undercover sting operations are by now well established. If Kristi is holding heroin in that apartment, that's where Michael wants to stage a sting.


Just can't hang around a place for days with cameras and sitting in other adjoining apartment complexes. You got to put yourself into position. We just decided, look, let's go in as workmen. Myself and another guy went in as workmen and carrying all our work tools.


Michael's with a colleague and they go inside the block of flats. They're dressed as electricians. They start going around knocking on doors and asking residents if they can check their lights.


One or two of the residents asked us to try and fix fridges and stuff. We just ran with the flow and it worked.


There in the corridor was Christy.


He passed me in the hall. I saw him go in and out and I realized who he was.


So Michael calls him back up and braces himself to go in.


You don't know if somebody behind that door has a gun, you don't know how many people are behind that door. You could go in and a guy could be standing there with a machine gun. A guy could be standing with a handgun and get the drop on you, as they would say. The adrenaline is flowing. Your heart is racing. Anything could go wrong.


The door opens, but it's not Christy on the other side, it's another man. Michael and his colleagues pull out their search warrant and they enter the flat. Where's Kristi at this point?


He's sitting at a table eating a sandwich. You can still see him sitting there looking as it was a big roll. He was eating a big salad roll or something. It was still in his mouth as we came in the door and he just visibly paled and he just froze. Really, he just froze. I told him we were the drug squad and with a warrant to search the premises. And he put down the sandwich and he said, I'm as sick as a parrot, a very English phrase. He said, Is your name Sullivan? I said, It is. He said, I was to look out for you. I said, Well, you should have took that advice.


Did it worry you at all that he knew who you were?


When you're in the drugs business, when you're working against organized crime, if you're going to worry about your safety, you're in the wrong job.


After Michael arrests him, Christy can hands-charged. He admits to owning the drugs and the cash and the fraudulent checks that were found inside the apartment. He pleads guilty. And while works his way through the legal system, Michael starts to get a sense of his character.


In court and traveling to court, he would be trying to learn French or reading books. He thought he was a step above everybody. He was reasonably smart, but he was, I suppose, a bit of a snob, really. He wouldn't waste time and he'd always look for opportunities. By the time.


Christie's trial comes around, his lawyers come up with a defense. He says that his client is committed to turning his life around, and he tells the court that Kristi's learning. He's learning French and Arabic, and he's trying to improve himself. Michael is skeptical, but the judge buys Kristi's story and only gives him six years in prison. Kristi Kinnihan is down, but he's not out. A few years later, Michael is still doing drug enforcement. One night after work, he decides to go for a run.


And I glanced over my shoulder and I saw a car following me. And so I ran through a series of streets and I could see the car was still following me. And I went around a corner and stopped to tie my lace and the car sped past me and I glanced at it and I told to myself, I swear that's Chris Cunham. I went back to the office and I said, I'm after seeing Chris Cunham. He said he couldn't have his done time and sent him to some. It's him. It came to pass that he was out.


Kristi get a hands out of prison, and he's only just getting started.


It's not just that Sammy has had his world torn apart by the conflict. It's not just that he has lost everyone that he ever loved. And it's not just that Sammy is only seven years old. Right now, children are being forced to live through unimaginable horrors in Gaza and around the world. And it's not just. This Christmas, your help could make all the difference. Go to trokra. Org or call 1-800-408-408. Trokra, together for a just world.


My dad, Tom, is one of the most charming men you'll ever meet, the love of my mom's life. But for years, he was also something else, a wanted fugitive. From Neon Hum Media and Sony Music Entertainment, listen to Smokscreen, my fugitive dad. Subscribe on Apple Podcast to binge all episodes now or listen weekly wherever you get your podcasts.


I'm going to warn you right up front. I'm known to go all over the place.


That's Derek Maltz. Derek's loud, but he's not angry. He just talks like this all the time. It's the same if he's ordering a pizza or arresting a drug kingpin. Derek used to run the Special Operations Division of the US Drug Enforcement Administration.


When we signed up to be DEA, we didn't sign up to be firemen, where the bell rings, you slide down the pole, and you go put out the fire. We signed up to proactively infiltrate the biggest and baddest criminals in the world.


Derek's been a source of for a couple of years. It's been a couple of years where I've been having to do a lot of networking with law enforcement agents around the world because I was writing a book on international organized crime. But the thing about police, there's no online directory. The way it works is this. You meet someone like Derek, and if you're lucky, he'll introduce you to someone else, and so it goes on. It's through these connections, I've met police from the US, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, and more. In each agency, they have their own culture, their own vibe. And Derek, he couldn't be more on brand for the DEA. Maybe that's because it's pretty much in his blood.


He worked 30 years, my father, in the DEA. My father did a lot of work with the heroin traffickers in New York, getting drugs from Italian-organized crime at the time. When I was 13 years old, my father actually took me out on a surveillance following a female who was connected to a heroin fugitive. And so he thought it was a good idea to put a 13-year-old kid in the government vehicle, follow into a high-rise hotel in a very bad area in New York City, and send his kid into the elevator with the target to see what apartment she went into. I guess my law enforcement career actually started when I was between nine and 13 years old.


Derek's father was tackling the growing problems caused by heroin. But by the time Derek started working for the DEA, there was a different drug rapidly taking market share.


America was getting completely bombarded with cocaine and crack and just so many problems, violence, crime, okay, so on. And all the cocaine at that time was coming from Colombia.


Colombia has always been one of the biggest producers of cocoa, the plant that cocaine is derived from. The cost of growing and processing cocoa is low, and the markups are huge. The supply chain is controlled by powerful cartels.


The cartels, they're in a business to make money. They run these organizations like a Fortune 500 company in the sense of they want to maximize profits and reduce risks.


In the 1980s and 1990s, these Latin American drug kingpins, they captured the world's attention. Names you might have heard of like Pablo Escobar or El Chapagustán. The American market for cocaine, it got bigger and the cartels, they became more and more powerful. So US law enforcement, they ramped up their response.


The DEA established a kingpin strategy. The United States attorneys around America started engaging a lot more. We started getting enhanced sentencing guidelines for drug traffickers around America, and we started working very closely with the Colombia National Police.


It was a controversial strategy. Not everyone was comfortable with the DEA jumping into other countries and arresting people, but it got results. Hundreds of cartel members were extradited from Colombia to the US on cocaine trafficking charges, and it made life for them really difficult. The cartels pivoted because moving cocaine loads into the US no longer seemed as appealing as it used to be.


You got to remember, the Colombians are like entrepreneurs, very, very smart. They study their failures. They didn't want to sit in American jails, okay? They advanced their communications. They compartmentalized their operations. They insulated themselves from prosecution in America.


But to do this, the Colombian cartels needed a new market, one which was not the United States, a place that would not get people like Derrick on their case. This is a key moment in Kristi Kinnihan's story because the market the Colombians choose, it's Western Europe.


They started bombing Europe with massive amounts of cocaine. Like I said, if you're in a business, there's really two things you got to keep in mind: increased profits, reduced risk. Well, cocaine trafficking in Europe was a home run for the cartels. By the early.


North East, the South American cartels are busy building up trusted networks of distributors in Europe. And there are hubs emerging, places filled with people eager to do business with them. Amsterdam is the perfect base for anyone who's looking to expand their criminal network. The first thing, it's where it's situated. It's in the center of Western Europe, and so there are regular flights and trains to anywhere in the world. Secondly, it's a city that's close to two of the world's largest container ports, Rotterdam and Antwerp. And that's the critical infrastructure for bringing almost all goods into Europe, including fast shipments of cocaine. At the same time, European economic growth and integration was ramping up. Borders are coming down and the single currency, the euro, is coming together, and broader globalization is making the world even smaller. During its golden age, Amsterdam was a hub. It was a hub for diamonds, spices, and now it's becoming a hub again, because over the next few decades, the cocaine market will explode. In 1986, less than five tons of cocaine was seized in Europe, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. But by the mid-nineties, this had grown to around 25 tons.


Then flash forward to 2021. They're now seizing a record-breaking 240 tons, almost 10 times more. The thing is, that's just a tiny proportion of the actual amount that gets in. So the true size of the market, it's much, much bigger. Perhaps it's over 1,000 tons a year, or maybe even more.


Cocaine was seen as a rich man's drug. Young populations, affluent population, disposable income. People see cocaine as sexy. It's great to have. We'll have a few drinks and we'll take some cocaine and we party throughout the night. And they would never stick a needle in their arm. They probably wouldn't take an ecstasy pill because they wouldn't know what's in it. But Coke looks quite clean and bright and you see it on the movies and everyone is doing it, and it's great and I wouldn't really get addictive. That's what people think. That's how it's marketed. The reason Europe has such a large market is because the money is there, the profits are there. No criminal organization worth to salt would not be involved in cocaine. In other words, cocaine is the fuel by which organized crime operates.


Derek says the Colombian cartels immediately saw there was a huge opportunity in Europe.


So why do I want to sell? I'm a cartel leader in Colombia. Why do I want to sell cocaine in America for $20,000 kilogram when I could send it into Europe and make double, triple? And then when you look at Antwerp and Rotterdam and look at the amount of maritime business that's being done, how the hell are they going to be able to properly monitor the volume that's coming into those ports? Guess what? Drug traffickers, transnational criminals are going to take total advantage of weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and that's what they've done.


In the mid-2000s, Derek realizes that the DEA strategy needs to change. They need a global network, just like the cartels are building. They start to work more closely with national law enforcement agencies. They start to share more information and work jointly on more investigations.


The command and control leadership for all of these international drug trafficking organizations is all overseas. It's not in America. So how the hell are you going to do your job if you don't work very closely and cooperatively, collaboratively with your partners in these countries all over the world? Okay? So I made it a goal to break down walls not only in the US, but around the world.


Want to know how generative AI can supercharge your business? See your partners, next-generation management consultants, optimists for change. Find out more at cia-partners. Com.


My dad, Tom, is one of the most charming men you'll ever meet, the love of my mom's life. But for 52 years, he was also something else, a wanted fugitive. From Neonhum Media and Sony Music Entertainment, listen to Smokscreen, my fugitive dad. Subscribe on Apple Podcast to binge all episodes now or listen weekly wherever you get your podcasts.


In the mid-2010s, Kristi Kinnihan sets up a consulting company, and on the website, there's a motto. I take it as a guiding principle for how Kristi built his empire. Being in the game is not as important as staying ahead of it. But it's not just strategy that helps him stay ahead of the game. Kristi turns out to be the right man in the right place at the right time. 1992, Christy gets out of prison just as a huge criminal opportunity that Derek described is about to open up. Only one year later, he's in trouble again, and this time it's for stealing traveller's checks from a bank. He's charged, he gets out on bail, and then Christy skips the country for one of those new European hubs, Amsterdam. A lot of Irish.


Criminals went to the Netherlands to get away from the Irish police. It was suitable because it was sufficiently far away from the UK, who were quite proactive, and Ireland. It was a two hour flight, hour and a half flight maybe, and you were there. Like most Irish criminals, when they go to the Netherlands, it opens up a new world for them. You are in the League of wholesalers or the organizers and the strategists. It's all about the context. It's no different to business.


From Amsterdam, Kristi continues to ship drugs into Ireland in the UK, and it's now far harder for Michael and the Irish police to keep tabs on what he's doing. 1997, because of the outstanding charges against him, Kristi rarely travels back to Ireland. But there's one event back home that he can't miss. It's his father's funeral. He flies back and he gets arrested. The police officer who interrogates Kristi at the station, it's Michael. So more than 10 years after Michael first arrested him in the flat in Dublin, they're back in the same room. Kristi doesn't want to talk. He sits there staring at the wall in silence. But there's something he just can't resist telling Michael.


During the interview, he looked at me and he said, You think you're so fucking smart. I followed you. He said. I gave him the registration number of the car that he followed me. That was the last conversation I had with him. He didn't talk then after that, but it shows you his mindset.


Kristi goes back to prison for several years, and like his last stretch inside, he uses the time strategically. He reads, he studies, he takes courses in law and works on his languages, Dutch and Spanish. He even starts a degree.


Whereas most criminals will think of the next job or what do I do when I get out? I bet you I could do that robbery and I could get some money. He would think further down the road, far more strategically. He was always trying to look for angles and improve himself and and learn from his mistakes.


2001, Christy gets out and he leaves Ireland again for Continental Europe. It would.


Have been when Christopher, senior, had only come out of prison. That's when I would have first heard the Kinnahan name.


Seamus Bolland is detective chief superintendent in the Irish police. Seamus and his colleagues, they've been trying to keep tabs on Christy, even though he's now far away from Ireland, and they can see he's becoming more global, more dangerous, and more powerful.


I would have been involved in investigations going back as far as 2003, significant investigations with significant drug seizures which were associated with the Kinnahan Organized Crime Group. The Kinnahan Organized Crime Group has been the primary group for the last 20, 25 years that built the networks supplying drugs and firearms jurisdiction without a doubt.


Over the years, Christy will be arrested again several times, but he always seems to manage to get off on relatively light sentences. For the police, it feels like Kristi is living up to his business mantra. He's staying one step ahead of the game. Kristi and his partners build operations in Spain, Holland, the UK, and in Ireland. But it goes wider than that. There's this leaked diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Sierra Leone. It's in 2009, and it contains intelligence about a Kinnihan associate coming into the country to help them ship drugs through Africa. And then Irish police realized that Kristy Kinnihans' connections go much wider than they ever could have imagined. Remember that morning in 2016, we heard about it in Episode 1, when the Dutch murder broker is caught in a Kinnihans safe house in Dublin. The murder broker who's connected to the assassination of a man who's been on the run from the Iranian government for 30 years. Now we've got what looks like a state-sponsored hit, the thing usually carried out by spies or Special Forces operatives, and it's connected to the Kinnihan cartel. In that moment, the Irish police don't yet have all the information to grasp exactly what it means, but it shows that Kristy Kinnaghan, the man who started out selling heroin in Dublin in a flat in the 1980s, has evolved into a different breed of crime boss.


What you're seeing there is such a close network of people who obviously work together. That's how organized crime has developed across Europe. I think no different to small companies that all of a sudden get bought up by bigger companies and all of a sudden they're multinational companies. That's how the drug gangs have manifested. They're like a business network. They're organized crime networks.


Christy Kinnoghan's network will reach its peak when Europe's most powerful and dangerous criminals gather at his son's wedding. But it's a long way from Dublin to Dubai. To understand how the super cartel was born, we have to look at an important turning point in Christy Kinnihans criminal strategy. It's a time when Christy is thinking about the future. He's got two sons, Daniel and Christopher Junior, and they've got no criminal convictions. They're clean. Perhaps Christy begins to think with his sons by his side, together they take what began as a tiny heroine hustle in a Dublin flat into the international criminal stratosphere. Daniel, the eldest son, is being groomed as his successor. But like all family businesses, they're at their most vulnerable at a time of succession. His power was challenged here in Dublin, and he was going to lash out and make sure everyone knew who he was.


You cannot go around like Al Capone. You can, but you'll only last so long.


That's next time on Hot Money. Hot Money is a production of The Financial Times and Pushkin Industries. It was written and reported by me, Miles Johnson. If you've got any leads or information about this story, you can email me at newnarcos@ft. Com. The series producer is Peggy Sutton. Edith Rosiloe is the Associate Producer. Fact-checking is by Arthur Gompertz. Jason Gambrelle and Amanda K-Wong are the mixing engineers. Sound design from Jake Gorsky. Jeremy Walmsley wrote the original music. Our editor is Sarah Nicks, and the executive producers are Jacob Goldstein and Cheryl Bromley. Special thanks to Laura Clark, Alistair Mackie, Breen Turner, Jude Webber, and Rich Ward.