MTK Global, one of boxing’s most influential companies, is currently being sued by rival promoter Moses Heredia. Heredia, who claims MTK poached his client JoJo Diaz, has alleged in his lawsuit that MTK is a vehicle for a billion dollar drug smuggling outfit sometimes referred to as The Kinahan Cartel.
Irish courts, media and politicians claim that Daniel Kinahan is leader of that organization. Kinahan, who currently lives in Dubai, co-founded MTK. Over the last five years MTK have claimed that Kinahan is no longer involved in the company, despite some of the biggest names on its roster—like Tyson Fury, Billy Joe Saunders and the UFC’s Darren Till—consistently broadcasting their friendship with Kinahan, whom they all call a close personal ‘advisor’.
This week a new round of documents were filed in relation to Heredia’s lawsuit. In those documents MTK attempts to answer a number of Heredia’s claims, including that the company was in violation of the US’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
“Mr Heredia’s RICO claims fail,” wrote MTK Global’s lawyer David Harris (ht Sunday World). “Because, contrary to his wild allegations, MTK Global is not a front for a European drug cartel, does not engage in money laundering, and does not make money from the sale of illicit drugs; rather, MTK Global is a successful and well-respected boxing management and promotions company.”
These documents, submitted by MTK, are intended to prevent Heredia being awarded a $2 million default judgment in the case. Heredia’s lawyers had argued for the default judgment after both Kinahan and MTK failed to respond to court summons within an allotted time limit.
MTK are arguing that Heredia’s lawyers did not serve Kinahan and MTK in a “manner that is consistent with UAE law.” MTK also filed a motion to dismiss the default judgment. A hearing to discuss this issue is scheduled for April 8.
Heredia is seeking damages against Kinahan and MTK over claims that they signed Diaz last year, by offering him a $100,000 advance on his next purse, despite the boxer being signed with Heredia Boxing Management until 2022.
In his lawsuit Heredia alleges that Kinahan still controls MTK and that he uses the company, and the big money fights it promotes, to launder proceeds of international drug trafficking.
The Kinahan Cartel are believed to be Ireland’s largest drug trafficking organization, with an operation that stretches throughout Europe, South America, North Africa and Oceania. Irish press reports that the cartel is also embroiled in a deadly gang war with an organization known as The Hutch Gang.
That feud has lead to over a dozen killings in Ireland and Spain. The most brazen of attacks carried out as part of these feuds was 2016 Regency Hotel Shooting. That attack targeted an MTK (then named MGM) boxing weigh-in show and resulted in the death of David Byrne, an alleged top lieutenant of the Kinahan Cartel. Authorities believe Daniel Kinahan was the intended target of the attack. He fled to the Middle East soon after.
Gerry Hutch, the alleged leader of the Hutch Gang, is currently awaiting trial for his suspected involvement in the Regency Hotel Shooting. Authorities believe he ordered that attack after he narrowly avoided an assassination attempt, allegedly ordered by Kinahan, at a bar in Lanzarote, Spain.
While Kinahan has been in Dubai, MTK has risen to become one of the biggest players in world boxing. Along with Fury and Saunders, their roster includes boxing stars Hughie Fury, Jack Catterall, Josh Taylor, Michael Conlan and Carl Frampton. MTK’s MMA division manages a number of UFC fighters including Alexander Rakic, Mounir Lazzez, Mike Grundy, Taila Santos, Sumudaerji, Dusko Todorovic and Carlston Harris.
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