Irish drug kingpin’s whereabouts revealed through Google reviews

Irish drug kingpin’s whereabouts revealed through Google reviews

Christoper Kinahan Sr. dines in five-star restaurants, racks up luxury hotel rewards points

In 2019, drug trafficking boss Christy Kinahan was photographed at a humanitarian conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. He was looking to invest in versatile transport planes under the name Christopher Vincent, also his Google reviews pseudonym. Courtesy of the Irish Sun

The longtime head of an Irish drug and weapons cartel has been posting Google restaurant reviews and travel tidbits from luxury locations overseas while evading justice, according to recent reports.

Under the alias “Christopher Vincent,” the posts, numbering in the hundreds, are from Christopher Kinahan Sr., according to the Sunday Times, a London-based newspaper, and the Dutch online investigative journalism site Bellingcat.

According to Bellingcat, some of the cartel kingpin’s posts disclose the identity of people he has met with, while others reveal less significant details such as his status as a Platinum Ambassador in “an international hotel group’s reward program.”

The 67-year-old Kinahan, whose first and middle names are Christopher Vincent, also offers his opinion on dining experiences. For instance, his August 2022 review of an Istanbul restaurant notes that the place is “chic and plush.”

“The service was good,” he concludes, “but not outstanding.”

While many of Kinahan Sr.’s reviews are of fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, he also reviews chain restaurants, such as Pizza Hut and P. F. Chang’s. Courtesy of Christopher Vincent / Google Reviews

In another food post, Kinahan, known as the Dapper Don, comments on the good service he received from “pleasant and helpful” staff members at the Cycle Bistro Jumeirah in Dubai. The Kinahans are believed to be living in that United Arab Emirates city on the Persian Gulf.

“I had the açai bowl, followed by eggs with almond bread and green salad,” Kinahan writes. “My meal was well presented and tasty. I give this establishment five stars.”

The reviews include his opinion that Dubai’s City Walk shopping precinct is a top-rated attraction. “Wonderful place to stroll around, particularly in the evening, lots of restaurants to choose from,” he writes. “I unreservedly rate this area five-star but not cheap.”

In some posts, Kinahan is identified by his unintended reflection in mirrors and other objects, according to Bellingcat. “For example, a picture taken at a restaurant named Tasha’s at the Dubai Marina in November 2022 showed Kinahan Sr.’s face reflected in a nearby window,” the Amsterdam-based website notes.

Also on its website, Bellingcat details additional methods it used to identify Kinahan by his digital footprint.

Kinahan Sr. is visible in a bathroom mirror in this photo from his review of the Hyatt Regency Barcelona Tower in Spain. “Christopher Vincent” helped investigators identify him by occasionally posting unintentional selfies. Courtesy of Christopher Vincent / Google Reviews

Regency Hotel assassin team

The Kinahan cartel is led by Kinahan Sr. and his sons, Daniel and Christopher Jr. The operation originated decades ago in Ireland but has branched out into different countries. The gang has aligned with global narco-traffickers and others involved in illegal activity, including money laundering. Kinahan Sr.’s fortune is estimated at $1.5 billion.

During earlier years, the Kinahans were a major underworld operation in Dublin, flooding the capital city with illegal narcotics while engaging in betrayals and deadly encounters with criminal organizations such as the Hutch clan.

The feud with the Hutches exploded on February 5, 2016, when a six-member hit team, including one dressed as a woman and others as police officers, entered Dublin’s Regency Hotel, looking for Daniel Kinahan at a weigh-in for an upcoming boxing match. Active in promoting boxers, Daniel Kinahan escaped before any harm could come to him, but a Kinahan lieutenant, David Byrne, a 33-year-old father of two, was shot to death in the lobby. Since then, the Regency has been renamed the Bonnington.

On February 16, 2016, Daniel Kinahan escaped from gunmen before a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in Dublin, now called the Bonnington Hotel. Kinahan lieutenant David Byrne was shot dead in the lobby. Courtesy of Larry Henry

This was not the first time Ireland was left reeling by a high-profile killing involving underworld assassins. In June 1996, Veronica Guerin, a newspaper reporter who exposed Dublin drug dealers in print, was shot to death at age 36 by hitmen who pulled up to her car on a motorcycle. Her plight reached a wider audience with the release of the 2003 feature film Veronica Guerin, starring Cate Blanchett as an investigative journalist shining a spotlight on the corrosive impact that illicit drugs had on residents in the capital’s inner-city neighborhoods.  

Bounty set on Kinahans

As in Guerin’s era, journalists in Dublin and elsewhere continue to investigate local and international drug and weapons cartels. Among these cartels is the Kinahan crime family, which still operates, at least through associates, in Ireland and other nations.

Stephen Breen, the Irish Sun’s crime editor, said the Kinahan organization doesn’t exist locally the way it did in 2016 and 2017 during the Kinahan-Hutch feud, but it hasn’t gone away.

“There is no question that their drugs and weapons network still exists, but just not at the same level before the Irish State responded to the killing spree they embarked on in 2016 and 2017,” Breen said in an email.

The arrest and conviction of some of the cartel’s key members, Breen said, “has caused huge disruption to the group, but they do still pose a threat considering the networks that they have established over the years.”

Breen and Owen Conlon, also a journalist, co-wrote The Cartel: The Shocking Story of the Kinahan Crime Cartel. An updated edition was released in 2018.

The organized crime group’s story also is being told in other formats. In 2023, the Irish Sun released a multi-part podcast, The Kinahans, exploring the cartel “and its 40-year history of violence and mayhem.”

One unresolved issue regarding the Kinahans is whether they will be returned to Ireland to face prosecution. The U.S. government is involved in the effort, offering a $5 million bounty for information leading to the arrest of “the heads of the Kinahan cartel — Christy and his sons Daniel and Christy Jr. — as well as four lieutenants,” according to Politico.

The State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program currently has a $5 million reward for information about Christy Kinahan and his sons, Daniel and Christopher Jr. Courtesy of U.S. Department of State

In Ireland, investigators “would be confident of seeing criminal prosecutions,” Breen said, mainly with a legal case built around the older of the two Kinahan sons, Daniel. He is thought to be in charge of the cartel’s day-to-day operations.

“The focus of the Irish authorities in 2024 is on Daniel Kinahan, especially with him being the subject of two major investigative files being sent to the director of public prosecutions in Ireland,” Breen said. “Christy Kinahan Sr. and his youngest son, Christopher, remain the subject of $5 million rewards for information leading to their prosecutions, but it’s Daniel, at the moment, who faces the prospects of criminal charges being brought against him in relation to the murder of Eddie Hutch in February 2016 and the attempt to kill [Hutch associate] James Gately in April 2017.”

The Irish Sun journalist added that Kinahan Sr. and the younger son are not in the clear.

“Christy Sr. and Christopher Jr. could also face prosecution as they have been identified traveling on false passports, and I understand these investigations are continuing,” Breen said.

In March, the Irish Sun reported that Ireland and the UAE do not have an extradition deal, but efforts are underway to change that.

Meanwhile, as the newspaper noted, concerns have arisen that the Kinahans could leave Dubai for some other location “as the net continues to tighten around the Irish gang.”

Kinahan Sr. has resided in Dubai since the failed 2016 assassination attempt on his son Daniel. He was still in Dubai as of March 29, 2023, the date of his last Google review. Courtesy of the Irish Sun

A taste of home

Based on his Google reviews, Kinahan Sr. likes to try out Irish pubs in foreign cities. He seems to regard some as a letdown.

In the Kinahans’ hometown, Dublin, pubs are a fixture, with the city’s historical literary figures connected to some. Pubs associated with authors such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Brendan Behan are pointed out to visitors. A pub called Davy Byrnes, mentioned in Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses, is still popular among Joyce fans who stop in for the same meal that a character in the book had — a gorgonzola cheese sandwich with mustard and a glass of burgundy.

Against that backdrop, Irish pubs elsewhere apparently don’t hold up to Kinahan Sr.’s standards. As Bellingcat noted, Kinahan Sr., under the Christopher Vincent alias, has posted Google reviews for three Irish bars: O’Reilly’s Irish Pub in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; the Corner Irish Bar in Lisbon, Portugal; and Paddy’s Emerald Sports Bar in Malaga, Spain. None received his five-star designation, while one, the Corner Irish Bar in Lisbon, was granted only three stars, the same rating he gave to a Pizza Hut in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist. He served as press secretary for Nevada Governor Bob Miller and was political editor at the Las Vegas Sun and managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Northwest Arkansas. Today, he is a senior reporter for

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