• Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Zim harbours wanted Irish Mafia cartel boss

ByEconomic Times

Feb 10, 2023

…aircraft deal gone sour blows cover of fugitive

A ZIMBABWEAN businessman, Adam Lincoln Woodington Wood, has allegedly been harbouring and enabling the activities of the founder of an Irish mafia gang, Christopher Vincent Kinahan, who is on the want- ed list of international law enforcement agencies, including the United States State Department, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

Kinahan, born in London in March 1957, is the founder of what has become known as the Kinahan Transnational Crime Organisation, a notorious Irish cartel with seven senior members featured on the United States’ most wanted list.

Kinahan and his sons currently attract a US$5 million reward for information leading to their capture and arrest, according to the US State Department website.

The Kinahan family and their inner circle are also sought for questioning by Irish and Spanish law enforcement agencies in connection with murder, narcotics smuggling and distribution, money laundering and passport fraud.

Several arrests have already been made in Europe.

“In Zimbabwe, Kinahan is allegedly being protected by Wood, a businessman with alleged connections with powerful political figures in the country,” a senior security source told the Independent.

Wood has been the subject of a number of past journalistic inquiries and was involved in the recent attempted land grab in Harare by a company where he was listed as a director, but said to be deceased.

However, Wood and another co-director, Bryan Murphy, are apparently alive and the land deal remains unresolved.

The Kinahan story came to light last year when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published findings regarding an alleged conspiracy by Kinahan to utilise air ambulance networks to distribute narcotics and other contraband across Africa. A Malawian firm, Nyasa Air Charter Limited, was fingered in the scandal.

It was subsequently reported that the senior plots and owner of the company and aircraft declined the contraband fights, despite great pressure from Wood.

This intervention combined with the Covid-19 pandemic chaos, which devastated the aviation industry ultimately, appears to have driven Kinahan to exit the enterprise by mid-2021.

However, Kinahan and Wood had already doubled their funds at the cost of others, including James Landon, who reportedly funded the start-up of Nyasa Air Charter that entered into a memorandum of understanding with an UAE house for Kinahan during visits to Zimbabwe. company reportedly represented by Wood in April 2019.

An investigation by the Independent has un- earthed that Kinahan and Wood had planned to acquire nine de Havilland DHC Buffalo type air-craft from the Egyptian Air Force.

“As industry knowledge about this deal and the nature of Kinahan’s past grew, considerable suspicion as to his and Wood’s ultimate objective in this transaction emerged,” a source close to the developments said.

An affidavit gleaned by the Independent shows that Landon and one Charles Demblon had been contracted to assist in the purchase of the aircraft.

Landon has, according to the reports, some historical experience with the aircraft type and dealt with an Egyptian firm repairing aircraft engines as far back as 2001 while Demblon is a licensed aircraft mechanical engineer with experience on the DHC Buffalo type.

“In reciprocation for affording the Kinahan family a Zimbabwean bolthole, Wood apparently enjoys the protection and support of Kinahan in his alleged endeavours. Wood was rewarded with company directorships in both Zimbabwe and the UAE as well as residence and work permits in the latter,” the security source added.

WhatsApp messages seen by this publication show that Wood was also at liberty to threaten people with the intervention of Kinahan and his son Daniel Kinahan should they choose to cross his path.

State security agencies are said to have monitored the situation since 2020 and have expressed disquiet at Kinahan’s presence in Zimbabwe.

Contacted for comment, Wood could not ex-tensively on the matter.

“We should meet because you have the wrong end of the story,” he said.

Zimbabwe immigration director-general Respect Gono was not in the office, but promised to facilitate a response. She had not responded by the time of going to print.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe was not picking up calls while Kinahan’s legal advisor, only referred to as Ibrahim, did not respond to questions sent to him.

Meanwhile, security sources who spoke to the Independent queried Wood’s activities including establishment of businesses for his Dubai-based partner such as Vision Agriculture and Aslord Developers.

According to the documents, Kinahan allegedly kept a suite of offices at 23 Kew Drive in Harare through Wood. A separate address at 52 Princess Drive provided a luxury three-bedroom town house for Kinahan during visits to Zimbabwe.

The Independent is reliably informed that a fleet of high-end vehicles were available for Kinahan, his family and a stream of guests from the UAE, Turkey, Spain, Ireland and Iran, amongst others.

There are strong indications that one of the vehicles, a Mercedes-Benz ML63, has been the subject of a separate police investigation.

In the wake of these astonishing revelations, the Independent is informed that certain Zimbabwean officials had been turning a blind eye to Kihanan’s travels in and out of Zimbabwe despite being sought by international authorities.

Meanwhile, the Kinahan family has established massive clout in the world of professional boxing, managing some of the sport’s biggest names, including Tyson Fury while launching one of its most influential companies, MTK Global.

However, outside the ring, the Kinahans have earned a reputation as a heavyweight in a more extreme sports with authorities in Ireland, the US and other countries accusing the family of running a deadly global drug, firearms and money laundering cartel.

In April 2022, the US Treasury Department formally sanctioned Kinahan, two relatives and four associates and vowed to use “every available re- source” to dismantle the cartel’s networks.

“The two (Kinahan and Wood) structured an alliance sometime between 2015 and 2017, when an increasingly desperate Kinahan sought an alternative base to Dubai as both local and international law enforcement agencies turned up the heat. Kinahan has enjoyed the protection of powerful political figures in Zimbabwe despite the allegations raised by international authorities,” another source said.

According to a police affidavit also seen by this publication, Landon detailed his struggles at the hands of Wood and the Kinahan family over the Nyasa Air Charter deal that has since gone sour.

“In 2017, I was approached to help restore service a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft serial number 342 to the office of John Bredenkamp’s family, who had beneficial use of the same.

“The aircraft was US-registered and was ultimately owned by an Isle of Man company, Long Horn Limited, but for US registration purposes pression that they owned the aircraft. had been held by a Trust Linked to Wells Fargo bank. Throughout the remainder of 2017, I was summoned multiple times to the offices of the Bredenkamp family to advise on how to restore the aircraft to service.”

Landon accused the Bredenkamps of being more fixated on fighting a former pilot who was owed, by their own admission, US$108 000 in unpaid arrears.

“The former employee was accused of with- holding the crucial aircraft log books. This cannot be true, however, as in 2019 he declined an offer of a settlement in cash from Landon’s financier to return the log-books. Alongside the aggrieved pilot, Bredenkamp’s vast retinue of creditors had allegedly attempted to seize the aircraft multiple times over the years,” reads part of the affidavit.

“In December 2017, the Sheriff of the High court obtained access to the Thetford Estate, where the broken-down aircraft had stood in disrepair for many years.”

He said the aggrieved pilot flew the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft serial number 342 off the farm and delivered it to auctioneers at Charles Prince Air- port, Harare.

“This was the first flight of the aircraft in over company. two and a half years. It is obvious the pilot and other creditors were desperate to recover money owed by Bredenkamp. However, the aircraft in question did not belong to Bredenkamp or his family at any time, as the United States Federal Aviation Authority ownership records show. The late bankrupt tycoon’s own Trustees and admin- istrators later confirmed this.”

London has also told the police that he received a message from David Douglas Jackson, allegedly a senior executive of the office of Bredenkamp, while in Australia.

“He asked me to urgently intervene the seizure of the aircraft and prevent the auction. I contacted Ashley Robert James Welch, with whom I had a number of small joint venture aviation projects in progress. Welch immediately proceeded to Charles Prince Airport and secured the aircraft,” he said.

The aircraft was locked in a hangar at Aerotech maintenance facility, at a cost of US$1 000 per month and Landon paid the amount reportedly on the assumption that whoever owned the aircraft would repay him.

The plane was stored for nearly two years and Landon was asked to arrange insurance, and a multitude of other bills again for which he was never reimbursed, according to the affidavit seen by the publication.

During this period, Bredenkamp’s office reportedly continued to push for a joint venture, based on Landon meeting all costs under the impression that they owned the aircraft.

The aircraft was registered in Malawi and Nyasa Air Charter was incorporated with the hope that Gavin, Bredenkamp’s son, could establish an air charter and ambulance service with the pre-Covid-19 market showing strong potential.

However, Bredenkamp’s people continued to draw down significant sums of money against equity and it became very clear that they had no intention of paying back the money.

Landon was reportedly forced to take over the Isle of Man company and the Malawian aviation company, Nyasa Air Charter Limited, originally set up for Gavin Bredenkamp to operate the air- craft. This transaction was facilitated locally and abroad by Bredenkamp’s trusted inner circle and offshore administrators.

According to the affidavit, Landon was introduced to Wood in late 2018 and following due diligence they explored several business opportunities including agriculture, aviation and solar projects.

Eventually in April 2019, they engaged and reached an MoU the following month to try and form a new air ambulance venture using the aforementioned and duly licensed Malawi company.

“Things continued well into 2021. However, I gave Wood the benefit of the doubt because he showed he was capable of achieving objectives complicated by an aircraft that was out of ser- vice. The aircraft was also the subject of multiple financial claims both private and public,” read part of the affidavit.

The Independent also gleaned export paper work showing that Long Horn Limited’s Pilatus PC-12 aircraft was cleared to leave Zimbabwe by customs officials for further maintenance in South Africa.

“Towards the end of the year, it became apparent that Wood’s partner, introduced as Christopher Vincent, was not using his full name,” read the affidavit.

The Independent is informed that Wood be- came agitated at this discovery and warned not to “dig further or google things” as it could be bad for him.

Landon was subsequently intercepted for interviews by US and European law enforcement operatives and met by an Interpol agent who ap- praised him of the Kinahan Transnational Crime Organisation, their standard modus operandi and the dangers they presented to legitimate business operations – ZIMBABWE INDEPENDENT

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