A Spanish judge has ordered police to return the “moldy” bulletproof vests to the Kinahans after the 11-year money laundering case against them has failed.
The bulletproof vest is one of a number of paramilitary-style items that cops have been urged to hand over to the Irish crime clan after money laundering charges against Christy, Daniel and Christopher Kinahan Jr, pictured at the time of their arrest, were withdrawn.
Military-style boots, camouflaged coats and balaclavas, which were allegedly used by cartel henchmen during a SWAT-style training hosted by Daniel, are also to be returned.
Spanish authorities are in the process of transferring up to € 500 million in cash, bonds and real estate to the gang after the case against them was officially closed last September.
The inclusion of bulletproof vests in the judiciary has outraged members of the Spanish National Police.
Officers spent two years following and listening to the gang during the ill-fated Operation Shovel before European-wide raids were carried out in May 2010.
Spanish sources said the material was in very poor condition and virtually unusable after being in storage for more than a decade. A source told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “It’s a bit of a Pyrrhic victory for the gang as they are not really based in Spain anymore and only have a skeletal presence here.
“This angered the police who investigated them as they remain dangerous criminals and should not be allowed to access this material.
“The only advantage for the officers involved is that if they want to use this material again, they will have to scrub it well to remove all the mold. To say the least, it stinks. There’s also the problem that the police don’t even know who they’re supposed to return this stuff to. “
The Spanish operation to return the money seized from the cartel is progressing “very slowly”, according to the source.
The most recent figure given by the relevant court was just under € 1 million in February.
While an Estepona court spokesperson was unable to provide an update last week, our source told us that “not much more” has been provided.
The source added: “It will take years and years.”
Virtually all of the drug, arms trafficking and money laundering charges in the original investigation have now been dismissed for lack of evidence.
The only significant charges that remain in effect are those of passport fraud against retired godfather Christy Kinahan.
He is accused of using a false travel document to travel from Spain to Brazil on April 30, 2010.
However, it is still far from clear whether Kinahan Snr will even be forced to appear in a Spanish court to stand trial.
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