Gang figure Daniel Kinahan’s ominous presence within the boxing world came to the fore again in a protracted legal battle between two Irish fighting greats.
During the marathon case the High Court in Belfast heard how there is a “fear of intimidation” of the sports company that Mr Kinahan part-founded almost a decade ago.
Allegations were also made during the legal action between Carl Frampton and his former manager Barry McGuigan that the company, MTK Global, is used as a “front” for crime.
Mr Frampton had sued the latter for £6m, citing withheld earnings from big bouts staged in Northern Ireland, England and the United States.
Mr McGuigan, in response, counter-sued his former prodigy for £4m, claiming a breach of contractual obligations.
Yesterday, the court heard the case was settled following the discovery of 10,000 potentially relevant emails from Mr McGuigan’s company, Cyclone Promotions UK Ltd, which were previously thought lost or deleted.
The pair formally split in 2017 after their once close relationship broke down, with Mr Frampton later joining MTK Global.
The company was part-founded by Daniel Kinahan in 2012 and came to prominence four years later while staging a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel.
The event was stormed by five men, some dressed in fake garda ‘SWAT’ uniforms, leaving one gang associate dead and two others injured.
In recent years the sports company has repeatedly attempted to distance itself from Mr Kinahan – previously named in the Irish High Court as running the day-to-day operations of the drugs and arms trafficking gang.
The alleged links between MTK Global and criminality were raised with Carl Frampton during the case, who denied any knowledge of this.
Counsel for Barry McGuigan, Liam McCollum QC, put it to Mr Frampton that MTK Global could be seen as a “front” for a criminal organisation.
The 33-year-old Belfast boxer said that he was “not aware of that”.
When the involvement of Daniel Kinahan, who has no previous convictions, and MTK was put to Mr Frampton, he replied: “I’ve heard the stories… I don’t suspect anything.”
While the issue of MTK and its links to criminality weren’t brought up with the boxer again, they were raised earlier this month with Blain McGuigan, Barry’s son, during his five days in the witness box.
Asked for his assessment on MTK’s status and reputation within the boxing industry, Blain McGuigan said: “They (have) pretty dubious links, (there’s) certainly a fear of intimidation within the sport, for who might be behind them.
“My biggest concern is that they are getting more and more influence, and it’s going to get to a point where they have control of both boxers and the contest.”
Barry McGuigan added that “there can be a potential lack of honesty in the contest, amongst other things.”
Throughout the legal action other allegations were made against both parties.
Carl Frampton said he vowed never to fight for Barry McGuigan again after a bill of £400,000 was demanded of him from the taxman.
His case centred on an alleged conflict of interest in relation to Mr McGuigan’s dual role as manager and promoter of some fights.
During another sitting, it was put to Barry McGuigan that he had ripped up a US$500,000 (€420,000) cheque to be given to Mr Frampton after a bout in the US. It was also alleged he told the US promoter, who had given him the cheque, that all monies had to come through him.
Responding to the claim, Mr McGuigan said this was “complete cobblers” and “rubbish”.
“I handed the cheque back to him and I didn’t mention anything about money going to me,” he said.
Mr McGuigan also said the deal struck for this fight – a bout against Leo Santa Cruz in New York in 2016 for which Frampton was told he would receive $1.5m (€1.3m) – had “far exceeded anything else that had been on offer.”
Mr McGuigan also claimed the boxer was already negotiating an exit before he walked out on their relationship.
He spent a total of six days giving evidence from the witness box, during which he also said that Carl Frampton “was like one of the family”.
Ultimately, however, a resolution was reached on all areas of dispute without the need for any judicial determination this week following the discovery of more than 10,000 emails potentially relevant to the case.
The High Court in Belfast was previously told the electronic messages had either been lost or deleted from the Cyclone account.
But in an unexpected development, it emerged masses of archived emails were found on the company’s systems last week. Proceedings were adjourned to allow a “mammoth” trawl through all the newly-located material continued.
Mr Justice Huddleston was notified last night that a settlement had been reached by consent. An order drawn up today confirmed: “All further proceedings in these actions and counterclaims be stayed upon the terms set out in the signed and dated document entitled ‘Settlement of McGuigan v Frampton Litigation’.” No direction was made on costs.
Source: Irish News