AN IRISHMAN suspected of laundering money for the Kinahan organised crime network has been arrested in Spain.
The man was detained by officers from the Guardia Civil in Malaga on September 12, alongside his wife and another alleged associate.
The arrests triggered searches of residential properties in Rochdale and Glasgow the following day, which were carried out by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A number of items were seized, including documents, mobile phones and a quantity of cash, although no further arrests were made.
"The Kinahan organised crime network transcends national boundaries, which is why international law enforcement operations like this are necessary," said NCA Deputy Director of Investigations Matt Horne.
The Irish national detained in Spain was previously sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Asset Control in the United States in April 2022, following an investigation involving the NCA.
The US Department of the Treasury designated him as having provided support to the Kinahan organisation.
Spanish investigators believe the organised crime group registered companies in Great Britain, Gibraltar and Spain to present a legitimate image.
They created a brand of vodka promoted in nightclubs and restaurants across the Costa Del Sol to disguise their earnings.
One of those arrested is suspected of using his car dealership to provide vehicles to the criminal organisation, complete with concealed compartments to transport cash undetected.
"The NCA has played a crucial role," added Horne.
"We said at the time sanctions were imposed on the Kinahans back in April that we would not stop there, and we continue to explore every possible method of disrupting their criminal activity.
"Tackling the people who handle money for them is crucial, which is why this operation has been so significant, taking out a key component of the crime group’s wider network."
The investigation, codenamed Operation Whitewall, was triggered by the seizure of more than 200kg of cocaine and €500,000 in the Malaga region in early 2021.
It has since involved the NCA, CPS and HMRC in Britain, the Guardia Civil in Spain, Ireland's Garda Siochána, the Dutch National Police, the DEA in the United States and Europol.