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His father was a dairy farm manager.
He was arrested for crimes related to heroin in the 1980s and served a six-year jail sentence. He studied for two degrees whilst in prison. While inside, he refused early release to complete a degree. As well, while in prison he learned to speak both Spanish and Russian. He is suspected of setting up drug routes into Western Europe for Mexican and Colombian Cartels, and the Russian Mafia.
His home was raided by Spanish police in 2010, though no charges were brought.
His ex-wife lived in Dublin and died in 2015. His son Daniel is a boxing promoter, lives in a villa in Guadalmina and allegedly runs the day-to-day aspects of his father's gang. He was probably the main target of the Regency Hotel shooting. His son Christopher Jr is also involved in boxing.
Gary Hutch was blamed for an attempt on Daniel Kinahan's life, so the Kinahans ordered him shot. He was murdered in Málaga in late 2015. Gary Hutch was the nephew of 'Monk' Hutch, the most successful armed robber in Ireland, and the Monk is said to have taken the murder very personally, refusing any attempt at a 'sit down' made by the Kinahans. In January 2016, in an event that received international media attention, hitmen working for the Monk dressed up as Gardaí before attacking a boxing weigh-in at the Regency Hotel in North Dublin. It is believed they were aiming for Christy Kinahan's son Daniel, who was in attendance at the weigh-in.
By February 2010 Kinahan was awaiting sentence in Belgium on money laundering charges. He is believed, by UK detectives, to have laundered drug dealing profits by funding 27 fixed horse races between December 2002 and August 2004. As a result of the alleged conspiracy, jockeys Kieren Fallon, Darren Williams and Fergal Lynch, faced criminal horse race-fixing charges at the Old Bailey.
In March 2016 Julio Martinez, the chief prosecutor for the Marbella area, told El País that charges against Kinahan for money laundering were imminent. Christy Kinahan already has convictions for money laundering in Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.