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Questions raised over Dundee fight night staged by firm linked to Irish crimelord Kinahan

Probellum - who staged fights at Caird Hall - have been linked to Daniel Kinahan.
Probellum - who staged fights at Caird Hall - have been linked to Daniel Kinahan.

Leisure and Culture Dundee chiefs face questions over why a boxing firm linked to an Irish gangster wanted by the US government was allowed to stage an event at the Caird Hall.

Probellum – which has tried to distance itself from Daniel Kinahan following his treasury sanctions – co-promoted Saturday night’s bill topped by local fighter Paul Kean Jr.

It came just three weeks after American officials announced sanctions against members of the Kinahan crime group and said 44-year-old Kinahan “is believed to run the day-to-day operations of the organisation”.

The move led to the closure of MTK Global, a boxing management agency co-founded by Kinahan, a well-known figure in the sport who has acted as an advisor to Tyson Fury and Josh Taylor.

US authorities want information on Daniel Kinahan.

It also placed scrutiny on Probellum, who promote several fighters advised by the Dubai-based cartel leader.

Last month Eurosport halted an agreement with Probellum to show five of its shows, dropping the remaining two amid scrutiny over the company’s links to Kinahan.

And legendary promoter Bob Arum, of Top Rank, said recently: “MTK have announced they’re out of business and I assume Probellum will soon follow as there’s not a network around any place in the world that will take a fight where Probellum is involved.”

‘Questions must be asked about this show’

Scottish Conservative shadow community safety minister Russell Findlay told The Courier: “A major broadcaster cut its ties with Probellum so questions must be asked about this boxing show in Scotland.

“I previously highlighted significant links between the Glasgow-based co-promoter of this Caird Hall event and the Kinahans’ Marbella gym.

“I sincerely hope Police Scotland’s specialist crime division is working with the National Crime Agency to ensure this cartel does not see Scotland as an easy touch.

“Drugs have caused greater devastation in Dundee than just about anywhere else in Scotland and right-thinking people wouldn’t want this poisonous Irish drug gang anywhere near the city.”

A Leisure and Culture Dundee spokesperson said: “We are looking into these allegations.”

Politician’s ‘Probellum’ meeting with Daniel Kinahan

The trademark for Probellum was registered in 2019 by MTK Global, formerly known as MGM before the threat of legal action from the Las Vegas casino giant forced a name change.

In March, Pakistani politician Rai Taimoor Khan Bhatti tweeted pictures from a meeting with Kinahan and wrote: “Met @probellum on aligning vision on boxing for Punjab and how to make this sport bigger for our youth.

“Looking forward to hosting Daniel in Lahore to discuss Pakistan’s first international fight with foreign world class boxers InshAllah. Will share more info in the upcoming weeks.”

Probellum’s head of talent relations Sam Jones was pictured alongside Kinahan in February.

He wrote said: “Always good seeing my friend Daniel. Great advice as always and brilliant for the sport.”

Since last month’s sanctions were announced, Jones has deleted several pro-Kinahan tweets.

When approached for comment by The Courier, a Probellum spokesman said: “The suggestion there is any connection whatsoever with the management or ownership of Probellum and any of the individuals or businesses sanctioned by the US Treasury is categorically untrue.

“This is easily established with basic fact checking.

“The business and all of its employees take the sanctions extremely seriously and will be fully compliant with all rules, regulations and requirements.

“Probellum has instructed its lawyers to take action against any defamatory or inaccurate reporting that is being used to smear the business’ name.”

The firm also addressed the controversy shortly after US authorities offered a $5million reward for information on the Kinahan gang that leads to the arrest and conviction of its leaders.

‘No relationship or communication with Kinahan’

It said in a statement: “We take the sanctions made by the US Treasury extremely seriously and the business and its employees will be fully compliant with them.

“We have retained counsel in the US to ensure that we fully comply with all rules, regulations and requirements related to this matter, including not working with any individual or company that has been placed under US sanctions.

“This includes Daniel Kinahan and we can confirm that we will not have any business relationship or communication with him whatsoever.”

On April 15, the company’s CEO Richard Schaefer told the BBC: “[Kinahan] has advised some of the fighters who are promoted by Probellum, just like he has worked with many other fighters which are promoted by leading promoters around the world.

“But that was then, now is now. The fact is he had at no point any interest whatsoever in Probellum.

“Each fighter is going to have to take a decision if he or she wants to continue to be advised by Mr Kinahan.

“I am certainly going to respect that decision but that fighter, irrespective of who he is or who she is, will have to respect our decision as well, which would mean that we would no longer be able to work with them.

“That is very clear. If a fighter has a business relationship with Daniel Kinahan, we will not promote him.”

Probellum’s co-promoter for Saturday’s fight night at the Caird Hall was Kynoch Boxing Promotions, founded by former MTK (Mack The Knife) employee Sam Kynoch.

Kinahan was an adviser to Tyson Fury.

The corporate lawyer – who has been pictured with Kinahan in the past – established MGM in Scotland in 2015.

His biography on the Kynoch Boxing Promotions website says: “When MGM re-branded as MTK Global in 2017 Sam was appointed as group managing director.

“With in excess of 40 professional promotions under his belt Sam decided in 2018 to form Kynoch Boxing – with the intention of becoming Scotland’s leading boxing business.”

There is no suggestion Sam Kynoch, Sam Jones or any of the fighters on Saturday’s bill are involved in crime.

Kinahan’s first steps into boxing business

MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella) was co-founded in 2012 by Daniel Kinahan and former friend Matthew Macklin, ex-European middleweight champion turned Sky Sports pundit.

Macklin was blocked from travelling to the United States last week due to the fallout from the Kinahan controversy.

He severed ties with the firm in 2017 and has no involvement in crime.

On April 12, the United States government imposed sanctions against seven senior members of the Irish Kinahan crime gang as part of a bid to target their financial operations.

Wanted posters displayed at a press conference at Dublin City Hall after US sanctions were announced.

Among those sanctioned by the office of foreign assets control (OFAC) were Kinahan’s father Christy Sr and brother Christy Jr.

Also named and sanctioned were their associates Sean McGovern, Ian Dixon, Bernard Clancy and John Morrissey.

Since February 2016, the Kinahan cartel has been involved in a gang war with another group in Ireland and Spain, resulting in numerous murders, including of two innocent bystanders.

‘Kinahan group prey on the most vulnerable’

Brian E. Nelson – under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence – said: “The Kinahan organised crime group smuggles deadly narcotics, including cocaine, to Europe, and is a threat to the entire licit economy through its role in international money laundering.

“Criminal groups like the KOCG (Kinahan organised crime group) prey on the most vulnerable in society and bring drug-related crime and violence, including murder, to the countries in which they operate.

“Treasury is proud to have co-ordinated so closely with our international counterparts, and the US government will continue to use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks.”

We have asked Police Scotland and Sam Kynoch for comment.