The Criminal Assets Bureau has been granted an order allowing it to seize almost €1.5m worth of assets from one of the most senior figures of the Kinahan organised crime gang in Ireland.
Ross Browning, originally from Hardwicke Street flats in Dublin, is according to the gardaí “a close and trusted lieutenant” of the Kinahan organised crime group and their “principal representative” in Ireland.
A convicted criminal, he has been involved in cash and transit robberies.
The High Court today ruled that Browning’s various properties, vehicles and jewellery were the proceeds of crime despite his attempts to disguise the origin of the money through other family members.
The judgment now enables CAB to confiscate these assets, however, it must return some of the sale proceeds to Browning’s relatives to ensure they have not lost out.
One of the Kinahan organised crime group’s top men in Ireland, Browning is a convicted criminal from Dublin’s north inner city who has lived in Spain for a number of years and is a close associate of Daniel Kinahan.
The High Court today accepted the CAB evidence that Browning “has had an ongoing significant involvement in organised crime for a number of years and is a senior member of the Kinahan organised crime gang”.
This transnational gang is involved in importation and distribution of drugs and firearms in Ireland.
Browning has associations with Mr Kinahan and other senior members of the Kinahan organised crime gang and of the Byrne gang.
The Byrne gang, led by Liam Byrne, is a sub-set of the Kinahan gang. Browning and his partner Sinead Mulhall, the judgment said, attended the wedding of Daniel Kinahan in Dubai in 2017.
He also attended the wedding of Christopher Kinahan Junior in 2007.
US authorities have offered a reward of €5m for information leading to the convictions of Daniel, Christopher and their father Christy Kinahan Senior. All three are subject to worldwide US sanctions.
In 2009, Browning was in Spain. In the period of 12 months which ended on 16 February 2009, he transferred over €40,000 from an AIB account to a Spanish bank account in Estepona of a corporation associated with Daniel Kinahan.
This related to a property purchase in Brazil.
In 2010, Browning’s home in Spain was searched as part of an operation relating to the Kinahans and a handgun was recovered.
He was present during this search in the company of another man who was associated with the Kinahan gang.
Browning has a long association with Stephen Fowler, who is a significant criminal and currently serving a prison sentence for feud related activity. Both ran a concrete laying business in Ireland.
The Criminal Assets Bureau targeted €1.7m worth of Browning’s assets, which it said he tried to hide through other family members.
These include a cottage in Garristown in north county Dublin, sheds at the back, lands in Rush and a house in Finglas.
CAB also seized several luxury cars, watches, cash and jewellery during searches in February 2018, including:
– €2,750 cash found during a search of a flat in Dublin 1,
– A number of valuable watches,
– A diamond solitaire ring,
– A black VW Golf 142D,
– €6,400 found during a search of a flat in Dublin 1,
– €2,800 cash found during a search of Chestnut Lodge cottage,
– A black Honda Blackbird CBR motorcycle 07LS registered to Stephen Fowler, found in the shed at Naul,
– A Blue Audi Q7 SUV 10D, registered to Sinead Mulhall, seized from outside the new house at Naul,
– A black Mercedes-Benz Vito van GGZ, registered to Ross Browning, seized from outside the new house at Naul,
– €4,900 cash seized from the home of Lesley Conway, at Navan Road in Dublin,
– A white VW Golf 12D, registered to Lesley Conway, seized from outside this dwelling.
Today, Mr Justice Alex Owens declared the properties the proceeds of crime and granted CAB a section 3 order, which allows them to sell them and give the money to the exchequer.
Browning’s mother Julie Conway is married to former garda David O’Brien, who told gardaí that she and “Dave” had renovated the cottage and had borrowed €40,000 from St Rapael’s Garda Credit Union.
The judge ruled that the cottage can be sold, but CAB must give 25% of the value of the cottage to the couple, another €103,000 to another cousin and almost €60,000 to Browning’s late grandfather’s estate.
The judge said this was to ensure that no disproportionate enrichment of the State at the expense of some relations of Browning who have lost out or will lose out because facilitated Ross Browning’s activities relating to these properties.
Browning was not in court for today’s judgment.